Founder story: Yenza

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Yenza equips its users with a wealth of resources, from self-knowledge assessments to career development tools and support services, to become career-ready.

In 2019, three visionaries united to address a critical, often overlooked aspect of education—youth career development. Nathan Burstein, Jared Molko, and Farrel Strul, the founders behind Cape Town-based Yenza, embarked on a mission to guide young individuals toward realising their full career potential.

At the helm is Jared Molko, serving as the CEO, steering Yenza towards its goal of fast-tracking employability and connecting young talents with opportunities. Yenza's approach is grounded in a comprehensive strategy built on three pillars: guide, develop, and place.

Under the "guide" pillar, Yenza delivers high-quality career guidance, assisting learners in making informed decisions to enhance their career prospects. The "develop" aspect zeroes in on narrowing the skills gap, ensuring that young individuals are equipped with the necessary skills for heightened employability. Finally, the "place" pillar aims to efficiently match individuals with suitable opportunities, addressing widespread inefficiencies in opportunity distribution.

What sets Yenza apart is its unwavering commitment to delivering an engaging experience, allowing users to independently navigate their career paths. By incorporating advanced psychometrics and algorithmic recommendations, Yenza's platform offers tailored career assessments, career matches, subject navigators, and skills courses. This empowers individuals to focus on their strengths and take meaningful actions toward their career goals.

The term "yenza," meaning "do" or "commit" in isiZulu and isiXhosa, encapsulates the essence of Yenza's philosophy. In a country where 80% of learners up to Grade 12 lack access to career services and face a severe shortage of qualified career counsellors, Yenza emerges as a beacon of hope.

Yenza's impact since its founding is palpable. With a membership base exceeding 50,000 users and utilisation in over 120 schools, the startup has already created 4,000 online courses. Yet, the enormity of the challenge is apparent—the gap in career guidance affects millions of young South Africans. However, Yenza's potential for significant scale could translate into transformative change for the youth, both employed and unemployed.

The startup's commitment extends beyond the current landscape. Yenza is evolving its offerings to prepare young individuals for a future dominated by emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. Partnerships, such as the one with Alison Learning, exemplify Yenza's dedication to providing members with free, credible micro-credentials across various career verticals.

Offering a wealth of resources from self-knowledge assessments to career development tools and support services, Yenza equips its users with the necessary tools to become career-ready. The platform's impact is not limited to individuals alone; it extends its reach to schools, counsellors, and parents, creating a comprehensive ecosystem for career development.

Yenza's founders have set out to catalyse a positive shift in the way young people approach and navigate their careers. By focusing on holistic development, personalised guidance, and strategic partnerships, Yenza is empowering a generation to face the ever-changing job market with confidence and resilience. As Yenza continues to grow, it carries the promise of unearthing the potential of countless young minds and reshaping the future of career development in South Africa.