Photo: SAB Foundation; Abalimi Harvest of Hope, one of the seed grant winners for the Innovation Awards 2011

Igniting a Culture of Entrepreneurship – SAB Foundation

By Mariska Henning, Sustainable Development, SAB Foundation

Igniting a Culture of Entrepreneurship

In 2010, the South African Breweries (SAB) implemented a black economic empowerment programme for the benefit of its employees, retailers and communities. SAB Zenzele was designed to be truly broad-based, distinctive and innovative, delivering real value to the three categories of beneficiaries, who play a significant part in the success of the organisation. In total the beneficiaries hold 8.45% shares in SAB.

The SAB Foundation, through which communities, in particular, women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, would benefit from the transaction, was founded. It holds 8.4 million shares in SAB and makes use of yearly Zenzele dividends, of which it has been paid a cumulative R36.7-million since the start of the transaction, to support and promote entrepreneurship amongst previously disadvantaged people. Overseen by a board of trustees, including prominent businessman, Cyril Ramaphosa, the Foundation believes that entrepreneurship is a source of economic growth, innovation and job creation.

Three investment channels drive this objective, namely the Tholoana Enterprise Fund, which offers small-scale grassroots support for non-profits, co-operative, micro-business and other ventures investing in entrepreneurial development and provide income generation and employment. The focus of the Fund is rural, women-owned and youth-owned enterprises. A Grant capital investment offers support and financial assistance to high-impact, black-owned businesses in partnership with Endeavour, a non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming emerging markets by establishing high impact entrepreneurship as a leading force for sustainable economic development. The SAB Foundation Innovation Awards rewards and upscales innovative sustainable pro-poor solutions aimed at the Foundation’s primary beneficiaries.

The SAB Foundation Innovation Awards is open to all South African applicants and seek the best ideas to enhance the lives of disadvantaged South Africans. A shortlist of 25 best innovations will be selected, and invited to attend a two-day workshop. The focus of the workshop will be on the steps to upscale and/or commercialise the innovation solution.

The main award is a grant of R1 000 000.00 to the winner, and there are 2 runners-up awards of a R500 000.00 grant each. In addition, several seed grants will be awarded. The grant includes funding for the upscaling and commercialisation of the innovation solution, a process which will be supported by the SAB Foundation over a period of two years or longer, as needed. The size of the grants is designed to allow for substantive progress to be made by the winners.

The Innovation Awards 2011 winner was Reel Gardening, whose community gardening product, Garden in a Box, received an investment of R1 million. Handmade vegetable planting strips are made from biodegradable paper. Each vegetable strip is water soluble, contains fertiliser and non-modified seeds and includes a set of seed growing factors to maximise the germination rate. Garden in a Box, for schools and communities in low income areas, helps address food security concerns and provides a sustainable income for the communities growing the garden.

The results are beginning to show as the Foundation strives towards making a real and indelible impact on South Africa’s communities and in the lives of some of its most vulnerable. Since the first entrepreneurial investments were made in 2011, a total of 45 micro and small enterprises have received financial investment and business support. This has resulted in 93 jobs being created.

This is only the beginning and it is anticipated that the Foundation will have a positive impact on many lives.

Click here for more information on the SAB Foundation and to access the Innovation Awards application form.

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One Response

  1. Great initiatives, my experience in developing and supporting Nano, Mini, Small and Medium agricultural and forest enterprises and Enterpreneurs have shown that ones people are provided addequate Business development and Financial service and guidance, no matter their level of education, history or social status, they will develop strong enterpreneural spirits and culture.

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