Radio 702 Profiles Rob Taylor on the Nedbank Business Accelerator programme

Posted / 05 April 2018

Building a better and more ethical society Everyone who goes into business wants to be a success, but few take the step beyond, and create an enterprise that can change the world. Rob Taylor founded Columba Leadership after experimenting with social enterprise in 2004. In this, he saw a chance to change society while building a new business in bottom of the pyramid markets.

“Columba works with youth from the poorest communities, where unemployment is highest and education is a struggle. We help them to develop critical thinking, teamwork and communication skills, as well as the characteristics of grit and determination to succeed. What we do is to train a small team of learners and educators who then train the whole school in the values of ethical leadership. They form teams with friends and run action learning projects to fix community challenges, developing skills for success in life and can earn a living doing this after matric,” he explains. Columba, he says, sees the youth as assets that require tools, support and opportunity to be the solution, rather than the problem to be solved. The aim is to invest in leaders who change their communities from the inside out. Furthermore, the company shifts the culture of schools, driving a sustained impact and providing a footprint for scale and the ‘multiplier effect’. “SA’s most grave and pressing challenge is youth unemployment. We empower micro-entrepreneurs using mobile technology in a low cost, low risk, large-scale model in schools, creating new jobs beyond the formal economy for young leaders to solve community challenges where the state cannot meet the demand. Our vision is to build a national network of engaged ethical leaders (starting with 150 000 in the next 5 years) for youth enterprise and employment. We believe they will unlock the growth potential of our country and build the kind of society we all want to live in.”

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