JOHANNESBURG – INDUSTRIAL processing, distribution and service giant Barloworld yesterday announced an extension of the deadline for applications from South African social entrepreneurs to enrol their start-ups in a flagship incubation programme, where they will receive mentorship and funding to scale up their operations and gain access to markets.
The programme known as Mbewu, which means “seed” in isiZulu, was launched by Barloworld in 2019 to provide support to social enterprises and start-ups that work innovatively to solve challenges in society through their entrepreneurial activities.
In a statement, Barloworld head of corporate social investment Noluvo Vovo Ngcwabe said the window of opportunity has been shifted from the previously announced May 14 to May 31.
“We are delighted with the overwhelming response we have received from social entrepreneurs for the 2021/22 Mbewu programme. The quality of the submissions we have received thus far is world class and showcases the quality and calibre of entrepreneurship we have in South Africa,” said Ngcwabe.
“By extending the deadline for applications, we are extending the opportunity of being part of the Mbewu programme to more social entrepreneurs from smaller provinces such as the Free State, Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern Cape. We have therefore made a considered decision to extend the deadline, to give all eligible entrepreneurs from these provinces an opportunity to apply.”
To submit applications, entrepreneur are urged to visit the Barloworld Mbewu website www.barloworld.com/mbewu and share video links from YouTube or Vimeo accounts.
“Shortlisted candidates will receive communication around the details of the round 2 application process. The finalists who will be incubated into the Mbewu programme will join the ranks of past social entrepreneurs who are already blazing a trail in their respective industries.
“Successful candidates incubated into the Mbewu programme will receive mentorship, and funding to scale up their operations and access to markets,” said Ngcwabe.
Previous beneficiary of the programme, North West-based emerging farmer Alice Radebe, founder of Molam’s Farming in Delpan, said her dreams were boosted by the Barloworld Mbewu programme.
“The leadership tools I acquired on this programme are eye-opening. Professionalism is key and general management tools I learnt from the programme are important and are taking me closer to take my business to the next level and become a real commercial farmer,” said Radebe.
Another previous beneficiary, Vuyo Mayesa, from Warrenton in the Northern Cape, has developed a women's sewing project aimed at developing women to create garments and school uniforms.
“The programme has given me the added confidence to give birth to a business idea and actually see it through. It fills one with joy to conceive an idea and see it through to implementation stages. Thanks to being a beneficiary, I have realised my idea,” said Mayesa.
A social entrepreneur is defined as a person who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a social and/or economic challenge.
Enterprises which are eligible to apply for this programme must meet the following requirements:
- The organisations should be run by South African citizens.
- Be operational for more than one year.
- Preference will be given to organisations that are active in marginalised and previously disadvantaged communities.
- Organisations active in the education, automotive value chain, agro-processing, agriculture, green economy or ground-breaking social innovation/technology that address local challenges.
The Mbewu programme was launched in 2019 to provide tailored support for start-up social enterprises, established social businesses, organisations and institutions that actively seek to address socio-economic challenges using good business practices.
African News Agency