Goal: 100 youth-owned businesses successfully incubated and established and each one employing at least one other young person over the next ten years.
We aim to see youth in Vrygrond transition from being uneducated, having an incomplete education, unemployed, or a lack of training to becoming self-sufficient, inspired and contributing community members through starting micro-businesses. The goal of the Incubation Hub is to increase the success chances of business; according to Sherman and Chappel, a business incubator is an “economic development tool primarily designed to help create new businesses in a community.
” Further, Sherman and Chappel note that business incubators support emerging businesses with several services, such as assistance in building management teams, developing business and marketing plans, access to funds, professional services, shared equipment and more. It is known that small businesses are not simply just smaller versions of big businesses; instead, they are vulnerable as they are new and consequently need a supportive environment.
Entrepreneurship has been cited as a critical lever in transforming local and global communities and societies.
One on one Business Coaching Utilising
Workshops and Training
To assist youth entrepreneurs in the development of their businesses, we have identified five core service delivery strategies:
Access to the internet and safe office space, warehousing space and collaboration is of utmost importance considering the volatility and crime-ridden environment in which entrepreneurs attempt to operate. Therefore, The Genesis Hub is strategically based within walking distance to the Vrygrond community within a high-security business park. This makes connecting and networking with outside businesses and entrepreneurs possible; providing assistance and resources for conducting market research; assisting in business accounting and financial management; longer-term access to loans and credit facilities from financial institutions, and more, simply because they now have a business address that is tangible, accessible and safe. The Incubator Hub makes small enterprise development grants available for start-ups who can develop their business plan and model using the online “Growthwheel” business accelerator tool, where weekly coaching holds them each accountable to their business goals and actions completed during the incubation. These small grants can be for specific business needs such as laptops, inventory, raw materials, rental space, and marketing through a rigorous application and pitching process.
In 2023, we are piloting this incubator hub program with 15 microbusinesses in our brand-new physical space in the Capricorn Business Park (next door to Vrygrond).
It has become the Sozo story and the young, resilient, persevering, passionate people from Vrygrond’s stories. Sozo’s big audacious goal is to see 100 youth-owned businesses successfully incubated and established and each one employing at least one other young person over the next ten years. They aim to see these entrepreneurs make social changes in their communities through businesses that solve the social ills and problems around them through innovative solutions. Sozo believes they if they can transform one generation of young people through access to business incubation, South Africa will see a model of community transformation and nation-building that is not only possible here in Vrygrond, but which can be replicated all over South Africa’s township communities, where the untapped potential of youth is in no shortage of supply.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP STORY OF HOPE
Let’s talk impact; Geraldine knew she wanted to start her own business but lacked the resources, tools, and capital. She grew up in the Cape Flats and had to dodge bullets often after school en route to Sozo’s education centre. After receiving support from Sozo to study an accredited course in acrylic and sculpture nails, she entered the Sozo skills program. During this time at the beauty skills program, she launched her own business by registering with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). She recently attended an accredited NQF Level 4 Business Management Training in New Venture Creation through partnerships with Sozo. Geraldine is one of the many reasons Sozo has launched Genesis Entrepreneurship incubator Hub.
There is much growth and potential for a young entrepreneur like Geraldine. Her business will thrive given access to the right coaching, mentoring, accountability structures and a safe peer-to-peer collaborative space. The vision for young people in Vrygrond to transition from being out of education, employment, or training to being engaged, inspired, and economically contributing community members is not only a “Sozo dream” anymore.