(Port Elizabeth) – A South African non-governmental organisation is on the hunt for impact entrepreneurs who are in need of funding and guidance to create sustainable businesses.
LifeCo UnLtd SA, in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation and Standard Bank, is investing R32 million over the next three years in entrepreneurial enterprises in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.
According to the LifeCo UnLtd SA’s manager for entrepreneur advancement in the Eastern Cape, Tippin Crisp, impact entrepreneurs are individuals who have identified and try to meet a need within their local communities or environment.
“They may have realised that they cannot rely on donations or sponsorship for long-term financial sustainability and have therefore developed innovative businesses from which the profits go back into meeting the need identified,” said Crisp.
Former e-News anchor and LifeCo UnLtd SA founder Pat Pillai said the aim was to invest in these individuals, support them, equip them and help them to start up or grow an impact business.
“We look for individuals who use business principles to deliver sustainable impact plus profit. Each applicant is carefully screened and site visits are conducted to meet our stringent selection requirements,” he said.
The initiative, which kicked off in March last year, has seen six Eastern Cape impact entrepreneurs join their Enterprizer programme to date.
Among them is Tsidi Limba of New Brighton in Port Elizabeth who promotes and develops struggling SMME owners by pairing them with successful entrepreneurs. Her Fix My Bizz show on DStv channel 260 documents their mentorship journey and provides information on how to access government and private sector support.
As an impact entrepreneur, Tsidi reinvests the profits from the annual business expos and events she hosts, as well as her advertising revenue, to ensure the long-term sustainability of her show.
Grahamstown Enterprizers Dan Long and Rob Davies run TheLocalMotive, which provides for the nutritional needs of the Mngcibe community in the former Transkei.
The duo is upskilling the local community in growing, harvesting, drying and processing Moringa tree leaves into powder, which they incorporate into their daily diet and also sell to the local and international health market.
A permaculture food forest provides fresh vegetables for the families who work the lands, and additional income from the excess crops which they sell to market.
The Moringa trees also help to regenerate the land, which has been over-cropped and over-grazed over many years, thereby contributing to the environmentally and socially sustainable business model.
Another Eastern Cape Enterprizer is Mary Phillips of Gelvandale, whose The Waste Takers business educates the local community about the benefits of recycling and buys back waste from the underprivileged members, which is then sorted and sold on to larger recycling companies.
Uitenhage’s Vusi Ncwadi runs the VMite Academy, focusing on training unskilled youth in IT and entrepreneurial skills, while Zayn Figg’s Buster McThundersticks brings hope to underprivileged communities in PE.