Businesses have solutions to societal challenges

Young entrepreneurs are running successful and innovative business models that are empowering their communities.

By Nonhlanhla Ntuli

Young entrepreneurs are running successful and innovative business models that are empowering their communities. The solutions they are implementing through their businesses are helping emerging farmers and transforming derelict areas into safe spaces. 

 

 

Helping emerging farmers grow  

 

Farming enables communities to become self-sufficient and fight poverty. Andile Gcaza co – founded Evergrow in 2018 with Phetole Raseropo. The bio scientists saw a gap in the market to use science and technology to help emerging farmers grow their vegetables. The Soweto based business produces over a million seedlings per quarter.  

 

“We provide farmers with professional seedlings, sustainable crop protection and fertigation input to enable them to grow their business,” said Gcaza.  

 

Their services and products help farmers deal with low productivity, lack of technical crop production, and business skills. “Our clients range from farmers with large hectares of land to informal street vendors, retailers, culinary operations, and produce distribution centres,” said Gcaza. 

 

The agriculture sector has the potential to fight poverty, increase food security, create jobs, and improve the local economy. 

 

South Africa has seen a large increase in the number of people employed in the agriculture sector, this was revealed in September by the Economic Sectors, Investment, Employment, and Infrastructure Development Cluster. 

 

The number of people employed in the agricultural sector increased by 6.6% in the first quarter of 2022, from 792 000 people in the first quarter of 2021 to 844 000 people in the same quarter of 2022. 

 

Apart from helping emerging farmers grow their vegetables, Evergrow also participates in skills exchange programmes that offer practical horticultural skills transfer. 

 

This skills development opportunity has the capacity for seasonal work opportunities. “Over 60% of our workforce are young women who are either passionate about farming or agricultural graduates,” said Gcaza. 

 

Innovative business models like this are creating jobs, making food accessible and growing the local economy. When given a chance, young entrepreneurs can play a vital role in solving societal challenges.  

Evergrow farm

 

Landscapers creating safe spaces for communities 

Crime often takes places in illegal dumpsites and unmanaged areas filled with trees and grass.  

 

Thami Majiki started his business after his girlfriend was raped, when they were robbed in an area surrounded by trees and tall grass. 

 

In 2015 Majiki started his business Garden Stoners Projects to turn crime-prone areas into an economically enabling environments in Orange Farm, Gauteng. 

 

Crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that 1 546 people were raped in public places such as streets, parks, and beaches in the first quarter of 2022.The Minister added that violent crimes committed against women and children were recorded at alarmingly high and unacceptable levels. 

 

“We have minimized crime in areas we have worked on and now these safe spaces give local entrepreneurs a platform to sell and showcase their products and services,” said Majiki.  

 

The business also provides residential and commercial landscape and lawn care services. Majiki prides himself in providing his clients with state-of-the-art landscape. 

 

Clearing out areas where danger and crime may lurk in Orange Farm and surrounding areas will help to keep communities safe. Majiki has plans to grow his business to create employment and transform more unsafe public spaces into safe environments. 

Garden Stoners

 

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