Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, CEO of Empowervate Trust, located in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Empowervate Trust is a youth development NPO that was registered in 2013. Its flagship programme is The Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP), which was born out of Afrika Tikkun in 2009, initially as a youth dialogue.

The programme is run in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education. The Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP) empowers and motivates young people from primary and secondary schools to solve or lessen the social, environmental, educational, or economic problems within their schools or communities.

This is achieved through YCAP’s toolkit and workshops that provide project management skills development and showcase platforms at district, provincial and national levels. Over the past 13 years of YCAP, over 43617 learners have been impacted by the programme and encouraged to be active citizens with a social entrepreneurship mindset.

Tell us about yourself

Well, I have an honours degree in Organisational Communication - undergrad from Bond University, and honours through UNISA. I have experience in journalism, door-to-door sales, and marketing communications. I worked as a marketing and events manager for almost six years at NPO Afrika Tikkun.

This is where I found my passion for youth development. I founded The Youth Citizens Action Programme in 2009 and, in 2013, moved it from its incubating NPO, Afrika Tikkun, in order to start a new youth development NPO, Empowervate Trust.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Creating Empowervate and becoming a CEO at the age of 30. As an NPO CEO, we have to do everything - wear all the hats! And sustainability is always a stress. But this year is our 9th birthday as an organization and 13th as the programme. I am proud!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest part is that all the responsibility falls on your shoulders - you wake up in the middle of the night worried about funding. You do your best to keep your volunteers engaged and passionate while having limited funds to really give them the experience you'd like to give.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you're passionate about the work - otherwise, you'll give up quickly.
  2. Get a mentor and ask for advice from peers in a similar industry.
  3. Never put all your eggs in one basket with regards to clients/funders - diversify and maintain as much as possible.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am married and have a 16-month-old daughter. I love singing, playing, and teaching the guitar, composing songs, listening to music, watching films, cats and other animals, clouds and nature, and the human resilience and ability to triumph over adversity.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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