South African social entrepreneurs invited to apply for funding
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PRETORIA - Industrial processing, distribution and service giant Barloworld on Tuesday called for applications from South African social entrepreneurs to enrol their start-ups in a flagship incubation programme where they will receive mentorship and funding to scale up their operations and gain access to markets.
The programme known as Mbewu, which means “seed” in isiZulu, 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 through development, funding and facilitating access to markets for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Head of corporate social investment at Barloworld, Noluvo Vovo Ngcwabe, said South African entrepreneurs have displayed zeal and acumen in developing solutions to the numerous problems affecting communities across the country.
“Since we launched the Mbewu programme three years ago, we have 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,” said Ngcwabe.
“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.”
She said Barloworld believes the private sector has a pivotal role in promoting South African social entrepreneurs, who have suffered immensely under the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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 a lack of information and networks,” said Ngcwabe.
“Through Mbewu, we believe that we can contribute positively 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.”
Eligible social entrepreneurs are invited to apply on www.barloworld.com/mbewu. The entries for the 2021/2022 programme are open, and close on May 14, 2021.
A social entrepreneur is defined as 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,” said Ngcwabe.
“The finalists who will be incubated into the Mbewu programme will 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.”
Enterprises which are eligible to apply for this programme must meet the following requirements:
- The organisations should be run by South African citizens and
- Be operational for more than one year.
- Preference will be given to organisations that are active in marginalised and previously disadvantaged communities.
- Organisations active in the education, automotive value chain, agro-processing, agriculture, green economy or ground-breaking social innovation/technology that address local challenges.
The Mbewu programme was launched in 2019 to provide tailored support for start-up social enterprises, established social businesses, organisations and institutions that actively seek to address socio-economic challenges using good business practices.
African News Agency