VPUU’s Local Economic Development programme collaborates with Business Activator to support and grow community-based social capital in several of our Safe Node Areas. The result of this collaboration is the Siyayijika: What’s your big idea? Competition.
The approach is founded on VPUU’s vision of community delivery of services. This vision sees asset-based community development as a core part of the sustainability of our projects. Therefore, local ownership of spaces is promoted through strengthening social capital. Consequently, this assists in the creation of safe and integrated communities. Due to this focus, VPUU works through a variety of interventions from skills training to local income opportunities, such as Siyajikika.
Meet two of last year’s winners of the Siyajika Competition:
“This place was just an abandoned piece of land – it was dirty, it was filthy and it was not safe. And so we decided to change it.”
Along with a group of friends, he cleared the bush and dumped rubbish from the site. In its place they planted a vegetable garden with the aim of improving youth employment access and interest in healthy, organic foods.
Neo managed to buy an old computer to begin her business, even though she struggled to gather the start up capital. Now she runs a busy little internet café and print shop. This is a much needed service that she provides to her community.
Both Unathi and Neo’s dreams became possible through the Siyayijika competition which asks: What’s your big idea? The competition is run through a collaboration between Business Activator and VPUU. It offers free business development services and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs hailing from Monwabisi Park, Lotus Park and The Heights.
The project revolves around a seed funding competition that provides young entrepreneurs the chance to develop and grow their ideas into sustainable business ventures. By supporting this growth of social capital, there is a benefit to their wider community. The competition runs over several months, beginning with an intake of applicants through a strict selection process. Those selected receive weekly business coaching sessions and support from a personalised coach. By the end of the programme, they are invited to pitch their idea, with the chance of winning up to R20 000 start-up capital to get their ideas off the ground.
As a Siyayijika winner, Neo was able to purchase 5 new computers and is now earning 40% more per month. Most importantly, she is providing essential services to her community. Similarly, Unathi’s upgrades allowed him to support several other young people. For both of them their visions go beyond business-as-usual. They have a desire to improve their surrounds, create safer spaces, and inspire other young people in their communities to do the same.
Siyayijika 2017 is currently in progress in Monwabisi Park, where we are mentoring 20 young entreprenuers. And keep your eyes and ears tuned, as there is a new round planned for August in Lotus Park and Monwabisi Park! We have also launched a similar project in Paarl East as part of the Western Cape Government’s Alcohol Harm Reduction (AHR) Programme. Check out our video about our AHR project here.
Be inspired by their stories in the videos we created with them last year (featuring awesome locally produced music by Anele “Lyrix” Gwente):