Helping people improve their lives is of utmost importance to Frank Magwegwe (AMP 185, 2013), and he’s using a nonprofit education center, Inspire Belief, to lift young people in South Africa’s poorest communities out of poverty and set them on the path to find their dreams.
Magwegwe got the idea for Inspire Belief while studying in the HBS Advanced Management Program, in 2013. The CEO of Johannesburg investing house Momentum—who had once been homeless on the streets of the very same city—had reached the point in his career when he was looking for a new perspective on business and his role in his community.
“Education was the bridge to a better life for me,” says Magwegwe, whose own dreams of going to college in the early 1990s were, at first, dimmed by a series of tough breaks. It would take encounters with a produce vendor who gave him a job and, later, a mentor who helped him apply for school, to set him on his way.
Deploying what he learned at HBS, Magwegwe set up Inspire Belief to give young people in the poor community of Orange Farm the opportunity to get a secondary or tertiary education. The program provides scholarships and fellowships at a local college for top performing students, recognition for leading teachers, and mentoring and financial literacy programs for the entire community.
“Given my background, having overcome unemployment and homelessness,” says Magwegwe, “I felt I could ‘inspire belief’ that your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.”
(Published August 2017)
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