A Booming Community Garden and the Woman Behind it

We all agree that entrepreneurship in South Africa has a very positive and direct impact on the economy and community upliftment. However, the journey from idea and conception to a thriving business is often a bumpy one, especially without access to capital. 

Fortunately, for most business owners who come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, there is a solution: the SAB Foundation. Their core role is to support entrepreneurs in South Africa by not only providing funding, but also providing mentorship and business support.

The Umgibe Farming Organics and Training Institute is one example of a business that came from one woman’s solution to the scarcity of food in her community. 

Nonhlanhla Joye, founder and director of Umgibe Farming Organics and Training Institute, decided to grow vegetables for herself without ever thinking it would grow into a viable business. Before she knew it, she had a booming garden and it was impossible to keep all her produce just for herself. 

The more vegetables she reaped the more demand there was from customers and suppliers. “You have to improvise, you have to be innovative,” she says of the unexpected boom within her business.

The SAB Foundation identifies entrepreneurs, much like Nonhlanhla, who provide solutions to social problems. “Sustainability goes hand in hand with income generation. The SAB Foundation got to me when I really needed them. I was able to build the company and more,” echoes Joye on the importance of creating social and economic impact.

The Foundation’s support of entrepreneurs does not only create massive potential for scale and mass production, but also provides an opportunity to make a long-term difference. From supporting rural bakers and food gardens, to a recruitment agency for deaf people, the Foundation has also been instrumental in the creation of over 3 300 jobs.

Nonhlanhla may have not known that her food garden would be the redeeming feature her community needed but she sure knows that all ideas need watering – no matter how inconsequential we think they are at the time. Now, she is well on her way to fulfilling her life’s purpose: to stop hunger.

With each sip you take, can you even begin to imagine that the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a provider of comprehensive services for 600,000 small tea farmers which represents over 60% of the countries total tea production and 13% of the global tea supply? Me too. Its services span across the entire tea processing chain including, transportation, warehousing, processing, marketing, financing and agri-extension to better educate farmers and improve the farming process.

KTDA pays farmers at various stages pre and post final sale. Given the volume of farmers and money being moved on a frequent basis, KTDA needed to have efficient technologies in place to meet expectations, simplify the process and keep up with their growing business. The livelihood of these farmers depends on getting regularly paid for tea supplied – and in the past, this exchange had been a tedious and laborious challenge.

With its global reach, IT capabilities and expertise in working with a myriad of local banks and currencies, Citi developed a system that seamlessly enables KTDA to pay 600,000 farmers quickly, reliably and securely, with an audit trail that ensures transparency. Citi’s new Mass Pay module enables KTDA to pay farmers the same day the funds are received.

Since inception and the introduction of this new system, the farmers have been able to depend on reliable and secure payments for their crops. Not only are they able to better manage their lives, they’re able to support their families, secure their futures without the worry of late payments.

So, just as you enjoy the warmth of your favourite tea in the comfort of your home we can safely say that tea farmers in Kenya are warm and fuzzy inside too because: it’s not just a cup of tea.