What if a business could do so much more than generate a revenue? What if, at the same time, a business could solve pressing social problems and make the world a better place?

This was the challenge facing the twenty participants in a Social Entrepreneurship Competition hosted by Ranyaka and Nedbank as part of the 2020 Building Business programme in Mamelodi.The competition sought to identify, inspire, equip and enable entrepreneurs to embark on the exciting journey of social entrepreneurship in their communities. Entrepreneurs were challenged to submit business concepts to submit business concepts that would simultaneously address a problem faced by the community, whilst at the same time, generating a sustainable income for the business owner.

Participants submitted their concepts using videos, documents and posters. Their submissions included a description of the problem situation, a detailed outline of their proposed solution, an explanation of how this business would generate revenue and profit – and a plan to demonstrate that the business would also ensure sustainability and longevity.

Meet the winners

Whilst the Ranyaka, Nedbank and our Mamelodi Building Business mentorship partners, the Regional Connect Institute (RCI), were impressed with the variety and depth of the entries received, there can, of course, only be a few overall winners!

Top honours went to Given Maboela, Nkululeko Nkwanyana, Thulile Mbuyane and Doreen Modisane. Prizes included the sponsorship of business equipment, professional photo sessions and videos, business branding solutions, blog posts showcasing their businesses and office stationery.

The prize giving and recognition ceremony took place on 29 September 2020 and attendees included the Ranyaka team members, representatives from RCI who made mentors available for the Building Business programme, as well as officials from the City of Tshwane and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Bright ideas

First prize: Given Maboela – Creating connection

Given identified the general lack of information about educational, business and employment opportunities as a problem in his community. Access to the internet opens doors to a whole new world of opportunities – and Given developed a plan of action to provide uncapped internet access to local residents in his area at an affordable price by installing access points at several locations throughout the neighbourhood. Residents would pay a monthly rate of R50 to gain access to these points.

Above: Given Maboela receives his prize from Kgomotso Mohlal, Director (RCI)

Second prize: Nkululeko Nkwanyana – What about oil?

Nkululeko from Hana (Pty) Ltd identified the lack of information about the safe and responsible disposal, storage and transportation of used lubricating oil and related waste as a problem in his community. In addition to the obvious negative impact on the environment, the dumping of oil creates unattractive spaces – and it has been proven that the physical appearance of a neighbourhood has a direct influence on community morale, a sense of pride in one’s space and even, the levels of crime in an area.

Nkululeko’s plan of action proposed a skills development programme which would also tackle unemployment and poverty in the area; a multi-purpose registered workshop and the development of local mechanics as Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs).

His income generation plan included aspects such as the servicing and repair of vehicles by backyard mechanics, the supply and sale of used lubricating oil and income-generating services provided by the workshop.

Third prize: Thulile Mbuyane – Let’s have coffee!

Thulile Mbuyane sells ginger beer that she has brewed herself under the name of Mama Tee Beverages. Unemployment, untapped talent and the fact that small businesses needed to travel long distances to find suitable spaces to interact and connect were amongst the problems that Thulile identified.

Her proposed solutions included the identification of talented individuals who would be suitable for training and employment in the hospitality industry – and the establishment of an upmarket business coffee shop which would provide a welcoming and functional space where business owners can meet and network. Sustainable income would be derived from the sale of daily meals, as well as the hosting of functions at the coffee shop.

Thulile would like to collaborate with talented individuals in the community who are currently working in isolation, but have tremendous skill. These are individuals who would not necessarily need training, but who could come together to render their skills from a single and vibrant location.

Fourth prize: Doreen Modisane – Clean community

Doreen Modisane from Doreens Holdings Enterprise is concerned about the pollution in the streets of her community and wide-spread unemployment. Doreen proposed regular street clean-ups and the establishment of a recycling plant to address these issues. Her income generation plan is focussed around the revenue that could be generated through recycling and the potential development of sites that were previously underutilised because of pollution.

Looking to the future

“The first-ever Building Business programme rolled out in the community of Mamelodi-East has not only given us the privilege of building relationships with dynamic, enterprising and resilient local entrepreneurs – it has also afforded us the opportunity to learn more about the specific challenges facing township entrepreneurs. These learnings will inform the development of our Building Business programme going forward. We look forward to the second round and to meeting even more rising stars in our midst!” – Maggie Tsotetsi, Ranyaka Director.

Mamelodi is one of 13 communities in seven provinces that is part of the Nedbank Proud of my Town programme, for which Ranyaka is the national implementation agent. Building Business is one of ten programmes that forms part of the greater Proud of my Town initiative.