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Having recently won the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award, 2019 is set to be a good year for Sowetan entrepreneur Nhlanhla Ndlovu and his innovative affordable housing business, Hustlenomics.

 “Hustlenomics is a for profit impact driven social enterprise that focusses on creating opportunities for women and youth by training them to replace informal backyard shacks with durable structures using alternative building technology,” explains Nhlanhla.

The business focusses on providing formal buildings for low income households who cannot get access to traditional home financing. Once the formal structures are completed, Hustlenomics splits the rental income with the land owner until construction costs have been recuperated, after which full ownership is handed over.

“In this way, we are able to create sustainable income for the households, while creating affordable rental accommodation for low income earners,” explains Nhlanhla. 

Nhlanhla also provides valuable employment opportunities to vulnerable members of his community, training them to build houses using sustainable construction methods.

“We train women in our local community by teaching them how to manufacture sustainable bricks using sand and 10% cement. This method both costs less and is three times faster to manufacture. We also teach them to build sustainable houses using those bricks,” he says.

Last year, Nhlanhla entered the SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards which rewards social innovators whose businesses or products assist in the creation of a better lives and a more prosperous nation.

According to Nhlanhla, he plans on using his winnings to purchase a brick making machine that can produce up to 4 500 bricks a day. He also wants to purchase a truck for his business, which will help him transport his bricks and other sustainable materials and speed up his production capabilities. These acquisitions will help Nhlanhla reach his ambitious business goals which include employing up to 50 women and youth and building up to three new houses a month, within the next three years.

When asked how he felt when he won the award, Nhlanhla said, “it was a very humbling experience because I didn’t really think I’d win. I was excited and shocked but also extremely relieved.”

As well as funding the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards provide tailored business support. Nhlanhla intends on using the opportunity to develop and refine his business model as well as develop business management systems like HR and financial management.