competition economic development economic freedom economic policy enterprise development entrepreneurship Events Featured finance funding innovation insights inspiration Investment media Opportunities public policy social enterprise start-ups wealth youth entrepreneurship

Social Enterprise Masterclass Challenges Delegates to Build Sustainable Organisations

The concept of social enterprise has gone mainstream over the past few years, reflecting a desire for new ways to create economic value in a manner that delivers measurable social impact. This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week kicked off on 10 November at the continent’s largest start-up campus, 22 on Sloane in Bryanston. On Wednesday 15 November, the venue hosted masterclasses on various aspects of entrepreneurship such as social entrepreneurship, funding strategies for small business, purpose-driven enterprise, as well as inclusive growth.

The first session, Social Enterprise and Impact Investment, kicked off with Mbali Zamisa, enterprise Programme Coordinator of the South African Breweries Foundation talking about various SAB Foundation enterprises that seek to fund various small businesses. These include the Tholana Enterprise, which seeks to empower marginalised groups such as women, youth and rural business.

The room comprised mostly of determined and engaged entrepreneurs whose business’ life span ranged from one to five years old. Rudzani Mulaudzi from Grades Match and Nneile Nkholise from Likoebe Innovation Consultants spoke about impact investment and measurement.

No let-down was The Disruptors author Kerryn Krige’s talk on the complexities and contradictions of social entrepreneurship and especially what it really is. Her talk featured many salient questions and statements that served as food for thought for entrepreneurs:

  • How am I going build stability in this organization?
  • Legitimacy and authenticity are inextricably linked
  • Funding social value in a sustainable way
  • Social enterprise blends income methods which enables you to have control over the types of income you bring in
  • It’s not about how much money you get!


Other important take-aways were about were remembering that ‘‘your story is more important than your numbers but use numbers to back up your stories (“finance people aren’t as stupid as they look!”), and the importance of doing homework on your investor, needing your investor to offer more than just money, and enhancing your own ‘‘investability’’.

The Future of Sustainable Job Creation talk with Managing Director Zanele Luvuno of Transcend Talent Management explored the ways in which policy creation can aid job creation and exposed challenges with implementing BEE legislation. The objective was to invite professionals to see beyond corporate life and tap into research and business development facilities to pursue small business development.

The last session on Integrating the Township and Informal economy by Sifiso Moyo was a dialogical sitting that had all delegates debating on the ways in which the township could benefit more from entrepreneurial ventures. Moyo asked critical questions that involved historical facts, relevant statistics and real-life case studies to observe and analyse successes and failures of a few entrepreneurial ventures in the township. The theme of the Township Renaissance was an indispensable topic that pushed the entrepreneurs, many who are from the township, to shift mentality and think of innovative ways of serving their communities with the intention of creating a strong township eco-system in which the rand would circulate numerous times and not only once in a context where R2.2 billion rand is generated out of township economy annually. This challenge presented the opportunity for township entrepreneurs to become real and legitimate competitors with big competitors and franchises.

Global Entrepreneurship Week endeavours to host more events in which more entrepreneurs will actively and consciously engage with like-minded peers who have succeeded such as Vusi Thembekwayo, who graced this week’s first event. The Masterclasses were informative, thought-provoking, and mostly motivating to the passionate and driven young youth who came to learn from the best in the business.

Written by: Gabaza Tiba (Makhaya Advisory)

Notices Oxford social enterprise start-ups

Social entrepreneurs vie for Skoll prize

The Skoll Centre is pleased to announce the finalists of this year’s Skoll Venture Awards. Each venture will pitch at the final on Thursday, 15 June.



VRTU (pronounced virtue) delivers simulated time-travel therapy to dementia patients through virtual reality content. While dementia is widely speculated as incurable, the mission of VRTU is to improve the quality of life of sufferers by triggering intact long-term memories to enhance cognitive, physical, and emotional capabilities.


Redbird Health Tech will operate in Ghana to offer a full suite of rapid diagnostic tests (pregnancy, malaria, diabetes, UTI, anaemia, cholesterol) via pharmacies so that patients have a more convenient and broader range of care than currently experienced. They intend to circumvent the existing supply chain and import directly from rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) manufacturers.


PowerMarket simplifies the process (feasibility through construction) of switching to solar, through an online, machine learning enabled platform which overlays solar potential, local regulatory benefits, and cost inputs from local suppliers and financiers.

The expert judging panel consists of:
Amanda Feldman – Director of the Bridges Ventures’ Bridges Impact+ team
Paul Miller – Partner at Bethnal Green Ventures
Lyn Hill – Consultant to the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Please join us for the Skoll Venture Awards Pitch Event on Thursday, 15 June at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. Successful finalists will be awarded up to £20,000 in grant funding from the Skoll Centre. The winner/s will be announced on the night, followed by a networking drinks reception.

Register here
By: Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
entrepreneurship peer-to-peer social enterprise start-ups

Entrepreneurs tackling SA’s development challenges

Here’s a link to my presentation at the GIBS Economic Outlook 2016 conference: Entrepreneurs tackling development challenges

Some key takeaways:

  • A new wave of entrepreneurs is emerging in South Africa which addresses pressing social problems, directly and indirectly
  • Business models that build bridges across the ‘two-speed’ economy have the best prospects for tackling unemployment and inequality
  • Also need to build models that apply to agriculture and manufacturing
  • Some financiers have come to the party (see SweepSouth), though far more could be done to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem, particularly to enterprises with high social impact
  • Solutions to developmental challenges are necessarily multi-sectoral yet in the big business/big labour/big labour configuration, civil society and entrepreneurs are relegated to the margins
peer-to-peer small business social enterprise start-ups

Transforming capitalism to bridge our divides

Capitalism, like all systems, is constantly evolving. For centuries, it has faced criticism, with intellectual and social movements calling for its complete annihilation, or hoping for it to be superseded, or more modestly, to be reformed. Milton Friedman may have railed that the business of business is business but that hasn’t stopped generations of thinkers and entrepreneurs to come up with ways to achieve both profit and social impact.

We’ve seen corporate social responsibility as an early attempt by businesses to formalise their charitable efforts. The sustainable development movement sought to ensure that private sector companies internalise the impact of their activities on the environment and society. Then businesses were to be measured on their triple bottom lines. And more recently, social entrepreneurship put forth the idea that social good can be embedded into the business model, as opposed to being a happy consequence of profit-making activities. It is undeniable that the way business is conducted has changed. But many of these developments have been co-opted in ways that risk making them mere buzzwords without making a fundamental change in society. The disjuncture between company social reports and the experiences of many mining communities is a case in point.

South African businesses have often been eager adopters of these capitalist mutations. But it’s hard to argue that the country has provided intellectual leadership on this front. This is quite strange, given the way in which the role of business in society was interrogated throughout the struggle against apartheid. Add to that a diverse country, with prosperity rubbing shoulders with dire needs, and a vibrant democracy with healthy debate and one begins to expect more than followership. This country should surely be the world’s laboratory for new ways of thinking about the future economy.

finance peer-to-peer social enterprise

Adventures in peer to peer microlending

I have been fascinated with Kiva for quite some time. It’s a quite an audacious idea – it started as a platform for ordinary citizens in the US to extend loans to micro-entrepreneurs across the developing world. Imagine the effort involved in finding suitable entrepreneurs to finance across the developing world, developing a payment mechanism to transfer funds to them, creating systems to avoid fraud, running a marketing campaign to find development oriented lenders, applying the legal finesse to deal with financial regulation…much respect to the Kiva team.

So the other day I tried to see if I, based in South Africa, could support an entrepreneur from another African country using this platform. The process was mind-blowingly simple. It took about ten minutes for me to sign on to the system and to make a US$25 loan to a trader in South Sudan. Being able to do something like this is a reminder that we are living through one hell of a revolution – this type of global connectivity has never existed before. The opportunities to reach out and effect change in the world are immense.
The micro-entrepreneur in question required a US$450 loan and it became fully funded on the day I made my contribution. The total amount will be used to fund clothing inventory, which the lady will then on-sell in her business. The term is seven months and Kiva’s field partner in South Sudan, BRAC, will collect repayments from the entrepreneur and report on progress on the Kiva site. I will post some updates on how the loan is doing.