Just over eight years ago the founder of YIEDI, Jayshree Naidoo and Jay Naidoo her business and life partner, sat across from a branding expert and outlined the vision for the company. They went on to describe a model that they had created, it was still drawn on a napkin from a coffee shop where they initially mapped out the vision for YIEDI.

Content delivered by Jay Naidoo on Strategy

The model placed the entrepreneur at the centre of their development efforts. A model that would ensure that the entrepreneurs gaps are identified, one where real growth takes place, not just for the business entity but the individual running the business. The founding principle was simple, if you grow the individual and invest in them the business will grow. The plan was to support the growth of entrepreneurs across sectors and was driven by the need to make an impact on the economy and job creation by positively contributing to the growth and development of the individuals that run these businesses.

The model as they explained would require the support of business technical experts, thought leaders, industry experts, programme managers and corporates that would sponsor these programmes, which all sound simple on paper, but would require buy in from every one of these areas for it to be successful. Fast forward six years and YIEDI currently boasts a multitude of clients that cut across various sectors. Their clients include three of the big five banks in South Africa as well as three Multinational
Technology Companies. The YIEDI alumni includes some of the most innovative startups in the country and who also compete successfully on the world stage.

Opening of the Computer Lab in Tembisa sponsored by Giesecke Devrient in South Africa as part of the Supplier Development Programme delivered by YIEDI in partnership with TEEC

Jayshree built her reputation on pushing the envelope and introducing new innovations and models to the organisations she joined. This included launching the first Innovation function at a state organisation in South Africa where she was appointed head of Strategy at the DBSA (Development Bank of Southern Africa) and then went to also head up their first Innovation Function, which included creating a space for Innovation that was used by staff and external partners. Later in her career she also launched the Standard Bank Incubator which was designed using a seven pillar model she created and which was later used to launch an incubator for the bank in Mozambique. While Jay focused his efforts on understanding leadership, strategy and the educational space through various senior management, training and development roles and was instrumental in ensuring YIEDI became an accredited training provider.

Pitching session as part of the PROPreenurX Selection Process

YIEDI’s focus is on growing entrepreneurs and innovators using the knowledge and experience they have gathered from the two decades they spent in corporate South Africa. There’s no surprise then that the model they created focuses on developing the entrepreneur as an individual through leadership, strategy tools and business development, while also focusing on growing their business through tools like financial management, design, thinking, technology and innovation as well as having access to markets.

Pitching competition at the end of a skills programme

There is no cookie cutter approach to development and programmes are designed in collaboration with the sponsoring company and ensures alignment to their procurement or innovation and technology growth strategy. The key focus of any accelerator or growth programme is to improve the innovation stack of the company through innovative technology startups or provide supplier and procurement ready businesses.

Development session as part of the IBM Techscale Programme

One of their key differentiators is that YIEDI is a company that focuses on developing entrepreneurs by using some of the best entrepreneurs and technical experts to deliver on its content, programmes by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. YIEDI also prides itself in partnering with some of the best in class companies that allow them to offer a varied range of services across the development spectrum. Every programme including short skills programmes has a dedicated programme manager that is responsible for the co-hort. Having delivered programmes that have impacted hundreds of entrepreneurs, youth and staff, YIIEDI is poised to make a positive contribution to the growth and sustainability of businesses and positively contribute to the economy.

Launch of the PROPreneurX Accelerator targeting Entrepreneurs servicing the Property Sector in partnership with Motseng, Kagiso and SASDC, delivered by YIEDI

The successful entrepreneurs that we have worked with through our incubators and accelerators are those that see the opportunities in the challenges that companies and individuals face on a daily basis. Some of YIEDI Alumni are profiled on the pages that follow and we are extremely proud of their tenacity and drive and how they have embraced innovation.


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