Among those sharing investment tips at the Hub Johannesburg’s Global Entrepreneurship Week was Tshikululu Social Investments (TSI). Their sustainable income generation manager, Samantha Braithwaite, presented the passion of the agency as to create a more “inclusive approach that appreciates available assets and promote systematic change”, she said to a group of social entrepreneurs who attended the workshop. Also present was Murray Legg from Rand Merchant Bank.
Seemingly aware of the noticeable power of the NGOs and their role to toss social change on its head, Braithwaite was quick to point out the core business of the agency’s social fund management service. “The service aims to deliver an all-inclusive social investment solution from inception and strategy to full implementation and administration”, she said.
Yet, as funding is key to sustaining a social business, she cautioned that adding value to the community is just as standard a requirement. Meanwhile, the community occupies a centre stage in the allocation of funds, the agency “monitors and evaluate these investments fostering capacity at recipient level”, she said. Amid the need to get funding rolling in, social businesses need to scrutinize their funders’ credibility. “You must know who your funder is, their CSI history, why they want to help and the way they communicate their expenditure”, she warns.
In its 13 years of operation, TSI has not compromised its underlying drive of “backing social champions”. As a result more than R2bn has been spent on social business over the last decade. This has been directed to more than one hundred and fifty thousand projects and hundreds of South Africa’s champions of change. This puts them ahead of others in the social investment stream.
Beating that kind of change is seen in other ventures in SA although in a different way. Ntuthuko Shezi, a panel beater supreme, shows mettle when it comes to mobile panel beating. His Scratch Mobile company found a niche in the motor repair, auto glass repairs and replacement market.
This hits the headlines as a surprise for a rural boy raised in the far-flung village of Ndwedwe in Kwa-Zulu Natal to rise to such a force. It is only through his scholarly prowess that you see something more than a village moegoe. Earning himself a bursary to study Electro-Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town and completing it shows there is a lot more in the man than meets the eye. His entrepreneurial spirit grew further as he began to invest his savings and concentrated all his energies in Scratch Mobile which he started in 2006.
Today, Scratch Mobile is positioned at convenient points such as our local airports in both OR Tambo (JHB) and King Shaka (DBN) International airports.
The meeting point between Tshikululu’s social investment arm and Scratch Mobile is innovation for social change. One offers a larger social investment platform and the other fixes a dent.
Booker Maseti, November 2011