JOHANNESBURG – First National Bank and Fetola Business Growth Professionals on Monday announced the launch of a small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) development initiative to help grow South African social entrepreneurs.

The two-year "Social Entrepreneurship Impact Lab" will empower 25 existing ‘for profit’ businesses who already operate in the social entrepreneurship space and have genuine potential to scale. Entries for participants opened on September 2.

The launch of the programme forms part of FNB’s broader strategy to provide meaningful support to SMEs as productive drivers of inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa, head of enterprise development at the bank Heather Lowe said.

The programme is looking for entrepreneurs who can solve community-based challenges in areas such as education, food sustainability, healthcare, safety, and environmental sustainability.

Companies in South Africa have an important role to play in nurturing and growing small businesses through enterprise supplier development programmes and collaboration with like-minded stakeholders, SME specialist Fetola's CEO Catherine Wijnberg said.

"It is only through such initiatives and strategic partnerships that we can truly make an impact in solving some of the major societal issues facing the country," she said.

African News Agency (ANA)