15 October 2020 Volume :8 Issue :44

GSB&L Champions Recognised for their Contribution to Society

GSB&L Champions Recognised for their Contribution to Society
Social entrepreneurs who are part of the 2020 Champions cohort.

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s (GSB&L) Regional Local Economic Development Initiative celebrated the success of its Champions Programme as 10 social entrepreneurs showcased how their entrepreneurial ventures are benefiting their communities.

The Champions Programme is a community development initiative that is part of a partnership between the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Department (EDTEA) and UKZN.

The 2020 cohort comprised 10 participants who presented at Demo Day. They were: Mr Lwazi Duma (film and audio visual content production for youth development initiative); Mr Khethokuhle Gcqwaru (poultry business where broilers are produced by local and neighbouring communities of Ixopo); Ms Phumzile Majola (SMME and Cooperative development through personal mastery); Ms Nondumiso Mbongwa (chicken egg production); Ms Portia Mdakane (bespoke seamstress business employing young women); Mr Zizipho Nogwaza (boutique business providing advisory services to SMMEs in ICT, branding and marketing); Ms Teressa Nzimande (woman-owned mobile tyre service operation who uses waste tyres to produce a range of goods which support the poorer community of KwaDukuza), Mr Darian Ogle (a small scale start-up piggery); Ms Sibonile Sithole (a cooking and baking venture and training programme) and Ms Ntombifuthi Sibiya (empowering youth with career guidance and skills).

GSB&L academic and facilitator of the Champions Programme, Professor Shahida Cassim said it had been an honour to see how the programme has grown since its inception seven years ago.

‘All of our Champions this year have had to cope with challenges to their social enterprise operations and with the change within their communities with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown. This made the learning programme really challenging. Perhaps the biggest gap was the absence of the personal interaction and peer-to-peer learning that is such a critical part of the Programme. We tried a blended kind of model where we used a combination of Zoom sessions, WhatsApp group chats, and WhatsApp (individual) to get the best outcome of the available modalities. We have some really great stories to tell,’ said Cassim.

EDTEA representative Mr Patrick Mbokazi said that the skills the social entrepreneurs gained from this programme are crucial for the transformation of KwaZulu-Natal’s and South Africa’s economy.

‘Congratulations to all our Champions for their dedication and hard work especially during the tough times of COVID-19. What makes social entrepreneurs different from the corporate world and a special breed of people is that they are not entirely focused on traditional commercial objectives. Instead they prioritise the communities they serve. That is why all 10 of you are winners today,’ he said.

After presenting their business plans to a panel of expert judges, the top three social business cases were identified. Claiming third spot was Sibonile Sithole whose enterprise Sbonumlando Bakery & Catering runs an initiative in which she equips young unemployed people from Nquthu with cooking and baking skills. She is now moving to partner with them to empower their own businesses . Second place went to Teressa Nzimande whose venture, KwaDukuza Mobile Tyre Company services the public and private sectors in her region and sponsors a women’s organisation that uses waste tyres to produce a range of goods which support the poorer community.

First place was awarded to Phumzile Majola whose enterprise, Mzansi Thrive promotes personal mastery as an enterprise development tool for SMME and Cooperatives. All the winners walked away with cash prizes of R5 000 each sponsored by friends of the Champions Programme. This year they included the Ismail Bana Charitable Trust; Awqaf SA and an anonymous donor.

The Project Leader Dr Simon Taylor and Professor Cassim acknowledged the various people who contributed to the success of this programme which is being recognised as a “best in class” model for the development of the social economy. The Champions Programme has been blessed with amazing facilitators, consultants, coaches, tutors and other volunteers from both academia and practice who give off themselves and their expertise willingly.

For more information on the Champions Programme visit: https://rledi.ukzn.ac.za/champions-2020/.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Siphosethu Dlamini

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