After the peach-selling business he launched in his first grade failed, Jabulani Nyembe thought he would never venture into entrepreneurship again, but watching his mother do it with ongoing success inspired him to try again later in life.
‘I grew up seeing my mother selling amagwinya so we could have something to eat. She has a resilient entrepreneurial spirit; even now, when she is late into her 50s, she is selling at the nearest primary school.
‘My first entrepreneurial experience – and failure – happened when I was in Grade 1 when I discovered that the peaches growing at home tasted better than any in the neighbourhood. Each morning I would take peaches to school to sell but after a while my small business failed. I took a decision to step back from entrepreneurship but I always knew I had an underlying passion for it.’
The 24-year-old from the township of Mbalenhle in Secunda, Mpumalanga matriculated with a distinction in mathematics and went on to successfully study human physiology at the University of Pretoria. But he felt something was missing, so he came to Durban to pursue a Bachelor of Business Science degree at UKZN and is currently in his third year.
‘I knew that I needed some theoretical business knowledge as I was coming from a science background. The business science degree was the best option as it not only focused on commerce but also included mathematics and statistics,’ said Nyembe.
During his first year at UKZN, he started working on his company, Clinalytics, with co-founder and fellow student, Mr Muhle Ndwalane. The company was inspired by research in the healthcare sector Nyembe did as a clinical data analyst the previous year.
Clinalytics aims to give healthcare professionals the tools to enable them to provide world-class healthcare services. It is centred on a digital medical records software system that allows healthcare professionals to create, store, and analyse the medical records of patients.
‘The inspiration came from seeing the queues my mother has to stand in to get her hypertension medication and how poor monitoring of her health led to her heart attack,’ said Nyembe.
Nyembe said starting a business while studying was very challenging as he had to find a balance between his school work and the business. Raising capital was also a huge hurdle. However, various partners such as UKZN InQubate, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Innovate Durban have since come on board to support his vision.
‘Clinalytics is a start in my aim to revolutionise healthcare in South Africa and beyond. Many other ventures in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space are in the pipeline and hopefully Clinalytics will grow to be a household name in the sector,’ he said.