On the 27th of June, the world celebrated MSME (Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises) day. The mere recognition of this day by the UN is confirmation that we are on track with the work we do in Diepsloot, supporting entrepreneurs. Recently, one of our participants, Nondumiso Sibiya, was accepted into the RedBull Amaphiko Academy.
The article below was written by her business partner, Sbusiso Shongwe. It tells us about her experience and how being a Wot-if? participant helped Boombadotmobi get to where they are now.
RedBull Amaphiko Academy is a global programme that champions social entrepreneurs driving positive change in their respective communities. The programme’s key focus is in developing and supporting the visions of these young eager entrepreneurs and their groundbreaking initiatives through a storytelling format.
One fortunate Social Entrepreneur who took part in the 2019 programme is Nondumiso Sibiya from Boombadotmobi, a Diepsloot-based waste management business platform that connects waste generators with waste collectors in order to facilitate responsible waste disposal. Nondumiso says the eight-day Bootcamp, which took place in Durban early this month, was a game changer.
“Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Being with other social entrepreneurs under one roof, sharing similar values makes one realise that one is doing the right thing. The Bootcamp made it possible for me to be the first one in my family to fly in an airplane and stay in a 5-star hotel near the beach.”
“I love storytelling and meeting people like Saray Khumalo who recently summited Mount Everest, and South African celebrated storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, made it all the more fun. They both shared their stories and the impact they have had in their respective communities and across the globe.”
Boombadotmobi was founded in 2017 when Nondumiso and her business partner noticed the scourge of illegal dumping in Diepsloot. Upon discovering that the waste was coming from outside Diepsloot, they quickly sought a solution to address the problem. Now they collect waste directly from the generators and redirect its final destination.
“We send pictures to our customers to assure them their waste is responsibly disposed of.” says Nondumiso.
She says starting a business is like raising a baby. A business needs the care of an understanding parent but equally important is having a supportive family structure.
“The Wot-if? Trust has been that family structure. They have seen us crawl, learning to stand, taking that first uncertain step, and learning to walk”, added Nondumiso.
She says that without the support from The Wot-if? Trust, she would not have known about the RedBull Amaphiko Academy. Being an online business platform, constant access to the internet is crucial for the success of Boombadotmobi. So is the constant need to master as many business skills as possible.
“The Wot-if? Trust has made available business skills development like Economic Literacy, record keeping, invoicing, social media master classes and others. I think doing this on my own would have cost a lot of money and taken a long time.”
just as it takes a village to raise a child, local entrepreneurs require the support of a community. By buying local products and services, you help feed a family or send a child to school or allow a one man business to grow and employ someone else.
Many of our participants are what we call “necessity entrepreneurs” – being unable to find a job, they start businesses as a last resort. Entrepreneurship is no small challenge, though, and even with our assistance, it takes a long time before they are able to start earning a reasonable income with their businesses. Some of our participants have accepted employment offers. This means a steady income and working experience for them, but does it also mean the death of their businesses?
Samson is a tiler and has experience in construction. He joined the Wot-if? Trust as a participant three years ago, when he decided to start his own business – Hlabolohang Flooring. He has recently been contracted as a construction worker at the upcoming Chuma Mall in Diepsloot. He says he decided to take on the job as a new strategy. His plan is to build relationships and get to know people in the industry, while on the job. Despite his previous marketing approach, persistently visiting all construction sites he came across and offering his services, he wasn’t getting where he wanted to go with his business. “I was not getting the tuna, I was only catching sardines”, he says.
Samson is also making the most of the opportunity to learn more about construction, especially flooring techniques. He’s certainly not let go of his dream or his company, and makes it clear that the construction job is part of his marketing plan.
Andile started Creative & Denim, customising denim clothing and selling vintage clothes at Riversands Market on the weekends. “I started going to the Father Louis Blondel Centre (FLBC) just to use the internet. It was only a year and a half later, after chatting with sis’ Felicety (FLBC project coordinator) that I realized how Wot-if could help me and felt inspired to start a business.”
He then landed the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ while selling his clothes at the Riversands Market. What he thought was a potential customer turned out to be the owner of a start-up clothing label. Andile now works as the brand’s creative director, overseeing design and production.
While he’s enjoying what he’s doing right now, Andile hasn’t lost sight of his dream to have his own label. “I’m using this opportunity to learn everything I can about the business and to save. I also still do custom orders for my clients in my free time”.
Sometimes, taking a side step, is the right step to achieving your goals.
Both Samson and Andile say they wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for the Wot-if? Trust. “Just being able to use the internet and printers for free was a big help for me”, says Samson. “Using an internet café would have cost me a lot of money – money I didn’t have. All the training and workshops also helped me develop a clear vision of what I want to do.”
Andile believes that it was the chat with sis’ Felicety that gave him the push to follow his dreams.
Greening and Conservation is one of our 5 key focus areas and we also encourage residents to grow their own food. We have made our grounds in Diepsloot available for vegetable gardens and tunnels, some of which are used by our Roots & Shoots kids to learn about growing food. We also support various food gardens in Diepsloot.
We are excited to announce that The Wot-if? Trust has recently entered in to a partnership with Food &Trees for Africa and Nespresso. “We’ll be using coffee grounds from used coffee pods in a pilot composting project, to enhance the soil in our various food gardens at the Father Louis Blondel Centre, and other gardens in Diepsloot”, says Rita Groenewald, our Greening and Conservation Specialist.
Various community stakeholders attended a 2-day permaculture and composting workshop in June, the first of a series to be given by Food & Trees over the next 3 months.
“Coffee grounds are excellent for composting, as the grounds assist bacteria in converting organic matter to compost, acting as an activator in the composting process”, Groenewald says. “Nespresso coffee pods are fully recyclable, and we would encourage anyone using these to find their local recycling depot to ensure both the aluminum pods and coffee grounds don’t end up in landfills.”
Groenewald advises that coffee grounds should not be sent to landfills, as they can emit high levels of methane when not composted correctly, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Combining the coffee grounds with the existing composting we are already doing, should make a big difference to our soil quality, improving the yield of our food gardens that benefit participants of the precinct.
We are excited to announce that our Eco Trading Store is currently under construction! You may have heard about in the build up to Mandela Day 2019 – the Eco Trading Store is a new project that aims to reduce dependency amongst our participants.
In a community like Diepsloot, we often find that the people we work with are struggling to meet their basic needs. Part of our mandate is to help aspiring entrepreneurs develop their businesses so that they can secure an income for themselves and eventually create jobs in their community. But how can we expect people to build thriving businesses when they are hungry?
We try to help our participants as much as we can by providing soup and sandwiches on a daily basis. However, this only provides a temporary solution and is not empowering in any way.
The Eco Trading store enables people to buy what they need using a community currency, which they earn through “green” activities. They can bring in eco bricks they’ve made or seedlings they’ve grown to earn this currency. They “do something to get something”, rather than receiving handouts. This builds dignity through earning, while at the same time benefitting the community.
Using this model, we hope to develop a culture of social responsibility, self-reliance and eco-awareness. The system has already been tested with our Roots & Shoots group and has been very successful.
Keep an eye out for our Mandela day communications to find out how you can help.