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Corporates Support Local Schools

16 companies have joined Cyril Ramaphosa in going ‘back to school’.

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Chairman of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, Cyril Ramaphosa walked the talk when he took time out of his schedule to go back to school today in support of the Foundation’s pilot Back to School For a Day initiative.

Ramaphosa first issued the call for a national Back to School For a Day at an Adopt-a-School fundraiser in November last year, where he encouraged corporate South Africa and individuals to play a positive role in the basic education of our youth.

On Friday, 4 May, some 16 companies and hundreds of volunteers heeded that call and descended on 51 selected schools around the country to touch the lives of over 25 000 pupils in what is a pilot of the Back to School For a Day initiative.

Foundation roots

Ramaphosa elected to visit Tshilidzi Primary, the school he attended as a young boy in Soweto. He addressed Tshilidzi’s Grade 7 learners on the importance of learning and getting an education.  Besides being his alma mater, it was a simple request from the Tshilidzi Primary principal many years ago for assistance with a fax machine that ultimately lead Ramaphosa to establish the Adopt-a-School Foundation in 2001.

Run as a project of the Shanduka Foundation, the Adopt-a-School Foundation aims to bring about effective change in education through its Whole School Development model, which involves infrastructure, skills and social development interventions and partnerships between adopters, sponsors, community, government and disadvantaged schools.

Stephen Lebere, executive director of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, was set to visit a number of schools around Gauteng with some of the Foundation’s corporate supporters.

“There is an urgent need for a combined effort from the private sector, NGOs and the public sector to address some of the crippling shortfalls in our education system. This need was recently reiterated by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, at a conference for Mandela Day 2012,” Lebere noted.

Promoting literacy

Ramaphosa confirmed that the theme for the inaugural Back to School day was the Promotion of Literacy and corporates had committed to covering a broad range of elements in their programmes such as health and nutrition, social skills, career guidance, reading and story-telling.

“The companies and their staff joining us across the country today are truly vested in the education of our children. You can see it and feel it in the way they have embraced this day.

“And when an adult walks into a school to offer their time and resources, the students feel recognised. Going back is about giving back and that is what is important about today,” Ramaphosa commented.

“We hope that in future many South Africans will make the first Friday in May the day that they go back to school to transform the lives of young people through the sharing of time, compassion, skills, knowledge and different resources. This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on learners, particularly at disadvantaged school,” he added.

Who went back to school?

  • Barberton Mines executives and staff are visiting Sibongiseni Primary, the all new school they are currently building in Barberton. The local community, parents, school governing body and learners from surrounding schools will come together to plant trees, clean up the newly built Grade R Facility and enjoy a day of developmental activities.
  • Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages staff volunteers are joining Thabo Tona Primary in Katlehong informal settlement, where they will engage in a host of literacy programmes for all grades.
  • The Deutsche Bank team are visiting Observatory Girls Primary in Johannesburg, to engage with educators and learners in activities designed to add value to the literacy programmes held at the school. Volunteers are donating puzzles, games and books to the school’s library.
  • Digistics, a national multi-temperature warehousing and distribution company, have partnered with the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD), of the University  of Johannesburg to visit Emadwaleni Secondary School in Orlando,Soweto to offer support and guidance around subject and career choices and tertiary education options.
  • FeverTreeConsulting is donating new books and educational games to Boschkop Primary, a farm school east of Pretoria. Staff volunteers have adopted the theme “If you want to be smart, put reading in your heart” and through carefully structured activities are looking forward to an outcome that celebrates the power of reading and literacy.
  • Grindrod staff will be visiting their adopted school, King Shaka High, in Umlazi, KZN, where they will engage in HIV/Aids discussions, career guidance and a talk on the importance of maths, science and accounting.
  • The IDC team are donating a furnished Grade R container to Emfundisweni Junior Primary in Alexandra and will spend time practicing reading and writing skills with the learners.
  • Kangra Coal’s staff and executive team will be visiting their adopted School, Vukubone High School in Mpumalanga to share career guidance for the mining industry, engage in motivational and leadership activities for the learners and donate clothing and jersy’s to keep the learner’s warm this coming winter.
  • Lafarge Education Trust has engaged board members, trustees, directors and staff to go back to a number of their adopted schools inNorth West and KZN. In the Bodibe community in North West they are visiting four schools to engage in environmental literacy activities, literacy games, career guidance and life orientation workshops.  Following the morning’s activities, Lafarge are hosting a community awards ceremony, honouring those who have achieved and shown strong commitment to improving education in their community. In their adopted schools in Mzimela, KZN staff and trustees have committed to improving literacy through reading and educator support.
  • Lonmin, in the spirit of supporting critical focus areas in basic education, will be providing workshops and donating technology kits to 28 schools.  Local students from the Technical Preparedness Programme, will join Lonmin in going Back to School to do technology experiments with each school.  Reading books will be supplied to foundation phase educators and all Technology and English educators will be trained on materials supplied.
  • MacSteel’s team of professionals have joined Moses MorenTechnicalSchool in Eikenhof, to share their valuable knowledge and skills of the steel industry and to provide essential advice on how to pursue careers in the technical sector.
  • Merrill Lynch is celebrating their commitment to improving literacy at Elethu Themba Combined School in Eikenhof, through planned activities to engage learners in a fun and meaningful way.  Educational games will delight the younger learners, while high school learners will benefit from career guidance and CV writing skills. LifeLine will provide talks on drug abuse and depression.
  • OMD staff volunteers are visiting Fairsands Primary, in Sandringham,Johannesburg to engage with learners and educators on literacy upskilling across all levels.
  • Sasria staff and partners are giving of their time to motivate, guide and assist learners in making essential career choices at Lodirile High School in Swaneville.
  • Shanduka Coal staff are going back to school at Mkhathini Intermediate to get their hands dirty as they get stuck into improving basic conditions at the school.
  • Shanduka Group and Shanduka Foundation Staff will be assisting the various companies in this pilot programme, sharing their experiences and volunteering their time and resources where it is needed.
  • Werksmans Attorneys are dedicating their time and resources to Igugu Primary School in Soweto, where staff will give the library a mini makeover and assist in improving conditions in and around the school where required.
  • Xstrata volunteers are visiting Mochochonono Primary in Pimville,Soweto, to engage in stimulating games and activities with the youngest learners and creative arts and gardening activities with the older learners to decorate their school’s exterior.

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FNB Sets Its Sights On Growing Female Entrepreneurs In South Africa

First National Bank looks to grow women entrepreneurship in South Africa.

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FNB has set its sights on growing women owned and led businesses in South Africa, a commitment that has seen the bank enter into partnerships to facilitate mentorship for some of the most promising enterprises.

The bank has a good foundation to build on, as 38% of all new business accounts opened with FNB Business are either led or owned by women, highlighting an already established entrepreneurial momentum.

“We are cognisant of the fact that neither government nor corporate South Africa are going to be the sole sources of job creation. We therefore have an obligation to support and grow entrepreneurship. Partnerships such as the one entered into with International Finance Corporation (IFC) enables us to assist in developing women owned business,” says Michelle Geraghty, Head of Women in Business at FNB Business.

Over the last few years, FNB has, through a partnership with the Vumela Fund, assisted businesses such asSAIL, a leading skills and training institute that offers a range of qualifications to the public sector, and Toni Glass who produce a collection of world class tea, to not only scale effectively, but to bolster each of the business’s offering to market.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

“Our approach is to, much like we have done with the likes of Sail and Tony Glass, enable qualifying women owned businesses in their growth curve by offering help that includes transact, lending, investing and insuring solutions. This will include facilitating the registration of the business online via the FNB registrations system which links to CIPC, to Instant accounting and payroll solutions aimed at reducing operating costs for the business. This will also extend to support in the incubation stage of selected businesses through Vumela. We will carry this right through to private equity funding,” explains Geraghty.

Vumela was established as an innovative model that is aimed at filling the gaps in the current SME funding and support landscape. While Vumela is an SME growth fund, it also functions as the bank’s primary Enterprise Development and Supply Development vehicle, able to fulfil both SME funding and growth needs, and corporate ESD requirements, avenues that FNB will be making use of.

FNB also intends on tracking jobs created through these initiatives to ensure a trickledown effect that not only benefits the business owner but also increases the overall number of women participating in business in South Africa.

“The need to grow the number of women in business is one that if done correctly, can address many of the disparities and anguish that women continuously face. Access to fair opportunities to grow their businesses and in turn make a real impact on the South African economy,” concludes Geraghty.

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Great Bunch Of Entrepreneurs Make Top 10 In The Workspace/MiWay Competition

The top 10 in The Workspace/MiWay entrepreneur competition have been selected.

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After an intense four-month process, the top 10 contenders in The Workspace/MiWay Entrepreneur competition have been notified that they’re through to the next round. These entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to the judges, who will then whittle down the number of contenders to five, from which the winner will be chosen.

“There has been great excitement over the past four months. As every single new entry came in, we would clap our hands and cheer,” said Mari Schourie, CEO of The Workspace. It was a tough job judging all the entries to reach the top 20 submissions, she said, before having to find the top 10.

“We’ve had really strong entries submitted by people with good business knowledge,” said Schourie. “You can see the willingness to work hard and the great amount of effort they have put into their initiatives.”

Schourie said judges saw “wonderful ideas and fabulous business minds and quality people with big dreams shine through the entries”.

The top 10 are:

  1. Loyal 1
  2. Dwyka Mining Services
  3. Minatlou Trading 251
  4. Sindis Best for all
  5. Convergence Three
  6. Zinde Zinde
  7. Matla Risk Management
  8. Artsort Trading
  9. Iconic Talent Agency
  10. Nthedikgwadi Transport Services

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Schourie said she wished she could tell President Cyril Ramaphosa, who supports the growth of small business as an economic driver, “the ideas and the passion that these business owners have is inspiring and should be focused on more”.

The prize on offer – worth over R350 000 – will help set-up the winning entrepreneur for a period of 12 months, giving them a boost to help build their business.

Morné Stoltz, Head of Business Insurance at MiWay, said the theme that ran throughout the entries was that entrepreneurs wanted to make a difference and contribute to positive change in South Africa. “Many of the submissions focused on technical and developmental fields,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs recognise gaps in the market and see the potential for growth. Getting into the top 10 was not at all easy.”

Stoltz said South Africa had a “great bunch of entrepreneurs” and that standing together to give them a platform to launch was an exciting opportunity. “To grow our economy we need to help with skills development and give whatever assistance we can,” he said.

Part of the finalists’ road to the top includes a skills development programme for the top 10 entrants ahead of their important date to pitch their business plans to the judges.

As Schourie pointed out, it is vital to encourage South African citizens to act on their dreams and passions because “it can be a great success; they just need make that leap”.

Dates to watch:

  • 21 June: Top 10 skills development programme
  • 3 July: Top 10 pitches
  • 6 July: Top 5 announcement
  • 20 July: Final five workshops
  • 10 August: Final five pitches
  • 13 September: Winner announced

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Top 22 Start-ups Chosen For Final Selection Days – Startupbootcamp Africa

After receiving 1,004 applications from all over the world, the SBC team in conjunction with the programme’s corporate sponsors have narrowed the applicants down to 22 top-tier tech start-ups that will be invited to the Final Selection Days on July 11th and 12th at PwC’s headquarters in Cape Town.

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SBC Africa received 1,004 total applications from 77 countries on 5 continents. The start-ups that applied were exceptionally impressive and have gained more traction in the market than the applicants for the 2017 cohort. The talent in Africa is phenomenal and the corporate sponsors and SBC team dedicated 2 weeks to narrow it down to the Top 22 to be invited to Final Selection Days.

“It’s been an intense process due to the exceptionally high calibre of start-ups applying to the programme from across the continent,” states Philip Kiracofe, co-founder and CEO of Startupbootcamp Africa. “From 1,004 applications we have managed to narrow down to 22 of the most creative teams tackling daunting African problems. One of the key differentiators for start-ups that participate in the SBC Accelerator is the opportunity to secure commercial contracts with our sponsors. In order to make it onto our Top 22, each start-up has been chosen by at least 2 sponsors for potential proof of concept projects. The 2018 cohort is already shaping up to be a milestone moment for Africa.”

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Zachariah George, co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Startupbootcamp Africa added, “The investment community across Africa is taking note of the significant traction and access to market that being an alumni of a global accelerator programme like ours provides. We are excited to further galvanize venture capital funding into tech startups through significant de-risking of business models and customer validation with our corporate partners globally.”

From the 22 teams that have been invited to the SBC Africa Final Selection Days, 10 will be selected to join the 2018 cohort. Over the span of the two Final Selection Days, the startups in attendance will have the opportunity to present their pitches to high-profile corporate sponsors, investors, thought leaders and industry experts and will have the chance to sit down with mentors and sponsors alike. At the end of Day Two, the Top 10 will be announced and will be welcomed to the Cape Town-based Accelerator that kicks off in August. During the 3-month period, they will have the opportunity to scale at an incredible pace and seal pilot and proof of concept deals with the corporate sponsors to the programme.

The SBC Africa Accelerator is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Old Mutual and PwC.

“We’ve seen an increase in the quality of start-ups applying to the programme. The awareness of the value of the programme has increased and the success of the first year of the bootcamp speaks for itself. More mature start-ups are also seeing the benefits of participating in Startupbootcamp Africa,” comments Stanley Gabriel, Head of Innovation at Old Mutual.

The Top 22 start-ups invited to the Final Selection Days come from 7 different countries. The numbers are as follows: 8 from Nigeria, 5 from South Africa, 3 from Uganda, 2 from the Ivory Coast, 2 from Kenya, 1 from Ghana and 1 from Ireland.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

The names of the start-ups invited to Final Selection Days by country:

  • Nigeria: Bankly Technologies, Biyabot, CredPal, FriendsVow, Kudimoney Bank, Medikal HMS, NebulaPay, and ZEEZZ Planet Solutions.
  • South Africa: Brandbookalytics Big Data, ifileme, LÜLA, Prospa, and Akiba Digital
  • Uganda: CoinPesa Ltd, RoundBob Uganda, and Swipe 2 Pay
  • Ivory Coast: Digitech Group, and DISTRICASH
  • Kenya: Kakbima, and MPost
  • Ghana: Inclusive Financial Technologies
  • Ireland: Pago Payments

It has been an incredible 3-month scouting journey for SBC Africa and now that the Top 22 have been announced, the Final Selection Days is the only hurdle left before the Accelerator officially kicks off on 13 August 2018.

There are high expectations for the Top 10 of 2018 and if the quality of the start-ups at this stage is any indication, 2018 is set to be a great success for the African tech and innovation ecosystem.

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