Riversands Entrepreneur's mission: Boost SA's financial education and improve youth skills through a self-funded bursary

Andile Fulane is a man on a mission to ensure that all South Africans receive the financial advice and education they need to manage their money, particularly during the financial crisis in which many people find themselves. His company, Finlite Financial Education, has established a social investment fund and bursary scheme to fulfill this dream.

Launched in July this year, the Finlite Social Investment Fund has already disbursed R200 000’s worth of bursaries for financial planners and other financial services employees who lost some part or all their income during the national lockdown to study the NQF 4 and NQF5 Insurance SETA-accredited online training via the Finlite e-learning platform.

“During my career as a financial education specialist, I have encountered too many employed individuals who are drowning in debt and worse than that, have signed up for financial products that they don’t understand and aren’t necessarily appropriate for their needs.

“A recent survey of adults in South Africa indicated that the average mark for a financial literacy test is 34%, which is where we see the opportunity. An all-too-common scenario which plays out is one where a financial planner spends an hour with a client, signs them up for a debit order and then sits back to collect the commission for the life of the policy. This education is designed to bridge the gap between the financial services sector and consumers,” commented Fulane.

When asked about surviving lockdown, Fulane is effusive in his praise of the team at Riversands Incubation Hub, which facilitated a subsidy to allow him to maintain his staff complement and refine his online offering.

“The interventions were perfectly timed and extremely practical. We gave Riversands CEO Tafadzwa Madavo and his team a shout-out on LinkedIn as an act of gratitude for the great work they are doing with entrepreneurs at the Hub. In my personal capacity, I also took advantage of the lull in business activity to engage with the business modelling training content on the Riversands Incubation Hub system, which was a welcome refresher for me,” he said.

Fulane intends signing up FET colleges as training partners to expand the offering of business courses available which can be funded through the social investment fund, although the main interest has been from corporates in the financial services sector who share in the mission to improve youth skills and create employment opportunities. 

“I have been on the receiving end of a bursary, a learnership programme and guidance from caring leaders who mentored me at different stages of my career. With the dire need of employment opportunities and consumers under so much financial strain, it was the perfect time to launch our social investment fund to help deserving people acquire the necessary skills to not only secure their livelihoods but also equip themselves to help their clients deal with their financial challenges better,” concluded Fulane.