Nozuko founded the UKIYO Group in 2017, an edu-tech company driven by social impact. UKIYO, meaning ‘floating world’ implies not being tied down and operating in a transient environment. Having not received proper career guidance and not knowing how to enter the job market, Nozuko sympathised with the approximately 9 million youth who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).
Realising that she had lost direction in pursuing a purpose-driven life, she took a sabbatical from her career in finance. Using insights and knowledge from various mentors, Nozuko reskilled herself, studying social entrepreneurship at GIBBS and developing a vision and purpose for NEET youth.
Nozuko’s strong suit has always been networking. In 2021 she raised over R1.2 million in two weeks with a purpose-driven intervention to assist students unable to finalise year-end payments at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Her corporate background evolved into a fully-fledged, robust ecosystem with the assistance of contributors. Students, employees and educational institutions connect on one platform, the Global Student Summit Platform (GSSP), the first of its kind. GSSP provides tools that students and learners need to make career choices, access sub-skill practitioners, multiple global scholarships and internship options, mentorships, and more.
Her work has sparked conversations in industry about moving beyond funding, opening the eyes of businesses to look at students holistically: to equip them with the knowledge to enter the job-market and the socio-economic environment.
Enhancing opportunities of inclusion and acknowledgement is key. Even if only one of her students returns with positive feedback and a successful connection in the economy, she feels the effort was worth it. Any dent made in the unemployment rate is a win.
Students must feel they have a place in this world and can be active players in their communities and in society.