Emmanuel Bonoko, founder of the Ebonoko Foundation and Ebonoko Holdings, is the KIA Young Business Achiever of the Year, winning the award at the 2017 BBQ Awards.
Brand South Africa reporter
Emmanuel Bonoko, an entrepreneur who has a heart for youth development and education, was named the KIA Young Business Achiever of the Year at the 2017 Big Time Strategic Group BBQ Awards on 20 October.
He is the founder of Ebonoko Holdings and the Ebonoko Foundation, which aims to bring about transformation through education, leadership, empowerment and serving others.
In a recent motivational talk Bonoko advised youth to “use social media to impact lives, not to impress. Use it to brand yourself and to make yourself accessible to possible business opportunities.”
Speaking at the Standard Bank Youth Expo, he said that before you went to pitch an idea or concept in a boardroom, the investors checked your online profile. “They check what you stand for, who are you and what are your values,” he said.
“Social media can open doors for you.”
Known for his book drive, which he runs through his foundation, Bonoko was included in the list of the 2016 Forbes Africa 30 under 30. His book drive delivers books across South Africa to prisons, non-governmental organisations and community centres.
Speaking about the KIA Young Business Achiever award, Bonoko said it was blessing to be appreciated for his work. “It’s an indication that behind the scenes we put in much effort.
“I always say, ‘Young people don’t admire what you see on social media; behind the scenes there is commitment, hard work, tears and prayers involved. Embrace the process.'”
Where it started
His foundation was his first baby, he said. He set it up when he was a first year BCom student, majoring in marketing. It was a stepping stone to greater opportunities.
“The foundation over the years has done extremely well in empowering the youth across South Africa in education, mentorship, training and developing them to find their own passion.”
Through his success and networks formed through the foundation, Bonoko was able to establish his marketing and consulting company, Ebonoko Holdings. It offers business strategy development, public relations, events management and brand management, and has property investments.
Bonoko has some tips for success:
- Small things count a lot – keep putting in more effort and learning from others.
- Never be ashamed to struggle; there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard to get where you want to be in life.
- Young entrepreneur, you must create a personal identity with which you will be identified. Being humble, ethical and caring should be part of it.
- Adapt with trends and brands in the market.
- Arm yourself with education for your credibility.
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