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Opportunity Issue 103

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


SOCIAL ENTERPRISES Seed funding for economic growth and social impact Barloworld Mbewu is supporting entrepreneurs who are making a difference. The Barloworld Worldwide Code of Conduct supports the group’s commitment to sustainable development. Sustainability is included in the Code as one of the group’s five core Values that informs employees’ individual and collective behaviour. Also central to its responsible citizenship programme is the group’s corporate social investment activities in response to the socio-economic development imperative to empower previously disadvantaged individuals and uplift communities in South Africa, to the benefit of all. Mbewu The intention of Mbewu is to provide seed funding, access to finance and incubation to social enterprises for a threeyear period. The incubation entails training and mentorship, elements that give the social entrepreneur the muchneeded support to grow and scale businesses for greater social impact. Through Barloworld Mbewu, we believe we can make a significant and lasting impact on social enterprises doing excellent work in our communities. Who can apply? • Organisations run by South African citizens • Organisations that are operational for more than one year • Organisations active in marginalised and previously disadvantaged communities are preferred • Organisations active in education, industrial technology, agro-processing, agriculture, green economy or groundbreaking social innovation or technology that addresses local challenges Credit: Ali Khalil, Pexels Background Mbewu was launched by Barloworld in 2019 to provide support to social enterprises and start-ups that work innovatively to solve challenges in society through their entrepreneurial activities. The programme seeks to drive economic sustainability, transformation and growth 62 |

SOCIAL ENTERPRISES through development, funding and facilitating access to markets for small and medium-sized enterprises. A social entrepreneur is a person who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a social and/or economic challenge. Social enterprises that will be considered for incubation in the Mbewu programme are technology start-ups and those that are active in agriculture (including agro-processing), industrial services, the green economy, the creative industry and social innovation. Finalists incubated into the Mbewu programme join the ranks of past social entrepreneurs who are already blazing a trail in their respective industries. Successful candidates incubated into the Mbewu programme will receive mentorship, funding to scale up their operations and access to markets. Since the launch of Mbewu, Barloworld has been encouraged by the zeal and enthusiasm that South Africans have demonstrated in developing innovative solutions that address socio-economic challenges in a sustainable manner. Through the Mbewu platform, we seek to unlock the potential of this growing sector of the economy and give promising start-ups in various fields the ability to scale up and blossom to their full potential. Addressing food security One of the successful candidates, Denzhe Development Agency, facilitates vegetable farming and agricultural skills development for ABET graduates, a focus area for economic growth and addressing the food security threat. Another social enterprise to have been mentored is Sindingulwazi, a recycling enterprise which fights drug addiction by offering addicts skills and an opportunity to earn a living from recycling. Community members are enabled with access to food from the gardens and the surplus is used to generate an additional income. Through waste management and rehabilitating of illegal dumping sites, Sindingulwazi extracts the recyclable waste and sells it to generate additional revenue whilst eradicating the culture of illegal dumping. A catalyst for change Barloworld is acutely aware of the challenges facing South Africa, and how the outbreak of Covid-19 has exacerbated the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Mbewu represents a tangible intervention that Barloworld has put in place to use the transformative power of social entrepreneurship to be a catalyst of positive social change. “We firmly believe that the private sector has an important role to play in helping social entrepreneurs to overcome the common barriers such as lack of financing solutions, human capital and information and networks. Through Mbewu, we believe that we can contribute positive to the growth of entrepreneurship with a social conscience and support a rare breed of men and women to foster positive change in a profitable and sustainable manner," says Noluvo Vovo Ngcwabe, Head of Corporate Social Investment at Barloworld. "Over the past three years we have been impressed by the quality of the entries we have received for induction into the Mbewu programme, which is indicative of the high level of social entrepreneurship in South Africa. With the level of innovation that has been a surprising but welcome by-product of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are confident that the quality of the entries we will receive this year will blow our socks off. We are pleased that we could utilise our platforms and the power of our brand to contribute to economic growth and foster positive social change," Ngcwabe concludes. New applications are invited every year for the programme. Eligible social entrepreneurs are invited to apply at ABOUT THE GROUP WHO WERE SUPPORTED BY THIS FUND The Creative Arts Cohort A group of creative artists were able to grow and scale their enterprises as part of Mbewu, Barloworld’s social enterprise incubator. The programme’s financial and non-financial support includes enterprise development skills, coaching and mentoring. Art Versatile Founded in 2008 by visual artist and creative entrepreneur Litha Ncokazi, Art Versatile is a value-driven art, design and tourism hub based in Arcadia, East London, in the Eastern Cape. Since its inception, Art Versatile has grown steadily and become a branded house with a strategic design of six units. Leshego Ceramics Leshego Buy Back and Recycling Centre is a recycling and jewellery manufacturing co-operative established in 2017 by five previously-disadvantaged youth. It is founded by qualified and talented pottery and jewellery craft artists. Some of the company’s products being manufactured include handmade recycle jewellery including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and bookmarks. | 63

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