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.