It’s not only about being the best at what we do but being better than we were yesterday; an ethos that gave birth to the dream child of Founders Jody and Lisa van Heerden. CAD4ALL was established in 2008 by its Founders whom share a passion for developing young people and find their full potential in life. “There was no better way in shaping the youth than to give them a solid foundation with an education” was the first response the couple gave in their reasons for starting the College which at the time only offered architectural CAD designing and construction short courses, which now has increased with more faculties and disciplines within them on offer today to students.
Coming from humble beginnings and growing up on the Cape Flats, more specific Bishop Lavis. “A township of poverty, gangsterism and drug infested streets, there are few if no opportunities for the youth of this area, in the years of my upbringing and today it is no different!” Jody explains how he had to fight the adversities of his immediate community and stay focused on a dream and the steps to achieving this vision. Through all this and limited funds for schooling and furthering his studies, Jody worked hard to be noticed above his peers whilst studying receiving many accolades and achievements. His achievements afforded him to be selected for overseas studies and experience enhancing the knowledge he had and needs for the years to come. He completed his formal studies in 1999 in the field of Architecture and Entrepreneurial Studies.
CAD4ALL started off selling affordable CAD software bringing a solution and an option to a market that was high end, but still making use of pirated software. CAD is a design package used by engineers, designers, architects and allows them to design on a work station. Jody and Lisa saw a gap as most companies could not afford what was on offer and the pirated version was not conducive for businesses to service clients with. The name came in the solution and was for everyone who needed to design a desk, house, car, shop interior, the list continues. It was definitely for all, hence being named CAD4ALL. Because it was a more affordable alternative, it took a lot of slander from the bigger more expensive competitor. This stretched the brand, but CAD4ALL reliability package made up of services and training is what made them strive and keep them a pick above the rest. The proof is that 10 years later and with a client base of over 2000 design and engineering firms making use of the reliable service and package. Every business faces economic and socio issues and this proves testing and trying time. This however also saw huge firms scaling down and using more affordable packages and support. The training was also done by CAD4ALLwhich really got the brand out for all to experience and see. CAD4ALL was really tested at this time Jody had entered into an entrepreneurial competition for a trip and to attend a course at the Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, USA. It was extremely difficult for Lisa to be alone with their three young kids while Jody spent months away in course in the USA. They made a collective decision that Jody should go and pursue the opportunity as the future benefits were to promising – this they only saw a few years later how well it all fitted in the collective of their entrepreneurial journey. Jody was one of 9 Entrepreneurs that submitted a business plan and received resound acclaim from the panel of judges assessing this competition.
Lisa has enjoyed building this brand with Jody and with her qualifications and experience in phycology contributed majorly in the realization and formation of the college and its accreditation in offering the curriculums. This was not enough for Lisa as she had to see children from disadvantaged areas benefit from a college structure that offered practical up skilling of learners. The college then started offering a learner ship program for children from disadvantaged areas and schools. Accredited qualifications are very important to the growth of any economy and skill of workforce and all these factors contribute to a higher standard of living. This was possible for all through learner ship programs offered. Education was accessible to all and because of this, CAD4ALL College had to endure slander and being labelled as a “bogus” because of its stance on education and empowering everyone with skills to better their tomorrow. Like all these adversities, the brand stood strong and what was once a mustard seed, showed a flowering tree, well rooted in the industry of design, engineering and education.
The college grew and like all successful business people driven by a passion to see others that do not have a chance to succeed offered this opportunity, Lisa still felt they are not reaching enough disadvantaged individuals. This lead the college to enter a sports teams into tournaments, then from these sports days a futsal team was born. The CA4ALL Futsal team, whom were young men under the age of 21 from the area of Bishop Lavis and Valhalla. The team started entering major tournaments and won a few coveted titles. This invoked a spark within Jody that made him fall in love with the sport. The College then went on to enter two teams in the in the Regional Futsal League and went on to win it, but just being part of a team was just not enough. Jody used the Futsal to give these young men a learner ship to study. Most boys in this age group have given up on schooling and pursued a career in football, but got a raw deal by agents and semi pro clubs. These young men now are receiving a second chance at enjoying their talent in playing futsal and receiving an education with a skill for life.
Lisa was very happy as this was in line with their vision of assisting people to better their yesterday and soon too fell in love with the sport of futsal. The college had an array of talent and the regional league at that time being very small and limited, Jody saw growth for the league, but more so develop the sport of Futsal in South Africa. Jody went on to contact the World body of Futsal, AMF and this is where the college once again grew not only in forming the South African Futsal Federation, but more so in becoming accredited in now offering sports management and coaching accredited courses.
CAD4ALL under the banner of SAFF has gone on to open Futsal Academies in both the Southern and Northern regions of Cape Town. The first ever ladies team was sent over to the Female World Cup that was in Spain 2017 that really boosted the popularity of the sport amongst both male and female. Currently SAFF has increased its membership of the National membership
The college portfolio of curriculum has grown tremendously over the first 10 years and this was only the platform for the next exciting years to come. CAD4ALL believes and approaches its learning through a blended learning approach which is the latest and most accommodating way of learning and gaining a qualification. CAD4ALL has a lot of effort put into the background and structure of everything that streams the businesses so that they speak to each other. This shows in the online learning sector of the blended learning which really gives the virtual classroom to its users, namely the students. Being ahead of the curve has carried the brand and its business entities and this desire has kept the college innovative, creative and techno savvy for the growing demands of our youth today.
“Looking back I see guts, hard knocks, learning curves and a success formulae that has carried us and kept us abreast from all the adversities and slander. We stuck to our guns even when it meant spending time away from my loves ones, sacrificing to realize a dream that not only empowers your family but the communities you come from and that’s the true joy,” was the message Jody and Lisa wants to impart with aspiring Entrepreneurs and those chasing their dream but can’t seem to see the goal line. A strong foundation has been fortified and established CAD4ALL and its brand. If from nothing we could build this in 10 years, what would the next 10 years have in store? This question excited the passionate couple and looked at each other saying that they are ready for the challenges the new era holds and excited at the same time as they can only see CAD4ALL growing its umbrella of businesses and increasing the curriculum of the college in years to come.
More Info on Jody van Heerden and CAD4ALL driving Socio Economic Tranformation here: