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Spark* South Africa welcomes the first SHE by Spark* Changemakers!

August is Women’s Month in South Africa, and to help celebrate Spark* will be hosting our first female focused Accelerator in Johannesburg. SHE by Spark* finds and accelerates women led ventures that improve the lives of women and girls in South Africa.

Study after study has shown that when a woman is empowered, the whole of society benefits and this is at the core of why Spark* has launched SHE. We believe that women are the best levers for change and are therefore very excited to introduce you to the first SHE by Spark* Changemakers: 

Anthea Petersen – Community Philanthropy Recycling

Community Philanthropy Recycling empowers women to establish women-owned recycling centres in their communities allowing them to earn an income while at the same time helping women waste-pickers shift from being dependents to bread-winners. Furthermore, as a result, the children of these women are performing better at school because their mothers are now able to put food on the table for them.

Chi Achebe – ResSpot

ResSpot is an online residential communication portal and 24/7 virtual estate manager. Realising that domestic workers often have to travel a long distance from townships to service one client in the suburbs, Chi was inspired to create a portal that directly connects domestic workers to many clients living in the same area. ResSpot has the potential to improve the livelihoods and earning potential of hundreds of female service providers.

Judith Meyer – Store-Dash

Judith believes that technology can be used as a catalyst to alleviate poverty and improve the financial independence of women. With her passion for technology, she has launched Store-Dash which identifies unemployed women and uses technology to help them create sustainable businesses.

Maria Uys – AfriGarde

AfriGarde is a high-end jewellery line launched by Maria to empower domestic workers and at risk women. Maria strongly believes in the economic empowerment of women and through AfriGarde enables the women to start their own businesses whilst in other cases, supplement their income as domestic workers. 

Mpho Kgosana – VIRYA

For 10 years, Mpho witnessed her mother work as a principal of a school for deaf and blind learners in Limpopo. Seeing how limited, poorly skilled and demotivated the learners were and considering the high risk of unemployment they faced, she was inspired to start her own training academy and thus launched VIRYA.VIRYA offers accredited skills training to women with disabilities, places them in companies and train their employers on how to best accommodate them.

Mulalo Ramathavha – Glenz Cakes

Frustrated with the number of girls who had no idea what to do post High School or were unable to continue with their tertiary education due to financial struggles, Mulalo knew that she needed to do her bit in helping the young women in her community. She launched a training academy as an extension of her bakery.  Glenz Cakes teaches young women in rural areas baking skills and sugar-crafting so that they can start their own baking businesses.

Ramona Kasavan – Happy Days

60% of school-going girls miss close to 50 days of school a year because they cannot afford sanitary towels. Happy Days provides cost effective and high quality sanitary towels to meet the needs of the lower earning female population. Furthermore, Happy Days has a direct selling model that employs unemployed girls to sell pads and earn a commission instead of relying on social grants.

Sewela Seshoene – The Lazy Makoti

With a great passion for authentic South African cuisine and entrepreneurship, Sewela launched The Lazy Makoti. It empowers domestic workers with cooking skills and sells kitchen accessories created by women.

Thokoza Mjo -Beyond The Lemonade Stand

Beyond The Lemonade Stand uses the creation of a school newspaper to facilitate personal and entrepreneurial development amongst teenagers from under resourced communities. The ultimate vision is to have a school newspaper team in all under-resourced schools in South Africa. In just the pilot phase, Thokoza has inspired one of the girls on this project to publish a poetry book, an indication of the massive potential her venture has. 

Yolanda Mpilo – Mother & Child Clinic

As a Professional Nurse, Yolanda knows all too well how dire healthcare is in public hospitals. It did not sit well with her that quality healthcare in South Africa is reserved for the privileged few and thus started Mother & Child Clinic. It is a private clinic that provides quality healthcare for women and children in Limpopo at a fraction of the cost.

Huge thanks to our official media partner Ndalo Media for their support in the search for these inspiring #GIRLBOSSES.

Welcome to the Spark* Tribe ladies!

Spark* South Africa Announces Cape Town Changemakers

With Cape Town abuzz as the entrepreneurial hub of South Africa, Spark* South Africa will be hosting its first Cape Town Accelerator this month to cater to the growing movement of impact entrepreneurs across the Cape Provinces. 

The Accelerator kicks off on the 26th of July and we are delighted to welcome another inspiring group of Changemakers to the Spark* Tribe:

Ezlyn Barends – DreamGirls South Africa

With a passion to help young girls unlock their highest potential, Ezlyn launched DreamGirls. DreamGirls SA supports marginalised teen girls in gaining a good education. She believes that by ensuring that more girls and young women gain a solid education to build successful careers, we can contribute to the economic development of South Africa.

Keith Petersen – Galloping Gardners

As a recovering alcoholic, Keith knows all too well the challenges of rejoining mainstream society. It is this experience that lead him to launch Galloping Gardeners in Lavender Hill, one of Cape Town’s most crime ridden towns. Galloping Gardeners provides training and jobs for unemployed and at risk youth and men in the garden and landscaping industry.

Leanne Viviers -  Mintor

South Africa falls prey to the global skills gap issue: over 600,000 unemployed graduates, and 800,000 unfilled high-skill jobs. Mintor exists to address this skills gap by developing a pioneering platform that connects higher education students with small businesses. With an MBA from Oxford, Leanne combines business acumen, passion and vision to address one of South Africa’s biggest social ills.

Thobekani Lose – Small Enterprise Development Agency Food Technology Incubator

Walk through any township in South Africa and you are bound to come across budding, passionate entrepreneurs in the food industry. Realising that despite their passion, these entrepreneurs never reach the growth that they desire, Thobekani saw a need for a food technology incubator. SEDAFTi aims to accelerate economic growth and development in the food and beverage sector.

Matilda Sekoakoa – Help a Child Grow

Help a Child Grow identifies schools in townships and builds libraries for them to foster a culture of reading. This was conceptualised as a result of observing the appalling state of some of the educational facilities in townships around South Africa. Matilda and her team find the lack of enthusiasm towards reading and the failing education system in certain regions unacceptable and are doing their bit to change this.

Ricardo Kleinsmith – Ama-ZING Tech Dogs

In this day and age where technology is an essential  part of our lives, Ricardo was amazed at how some people in his community had never turned on a computer, let alone spent time using one. He knew that this would prove to be a major disadvantage to students at school or adults trying to get work. He then launched Ama-ZING Tech Dogs which teaches computer literacy. In the two years that it has been running he has trained close to 200 young people and adults with more than half of these people successfully finding jobs and enrolling into higher learning institutions after their training. 

Shaaf Adams – Go To Print

There is a definite dearth of graphic designers in poor areas, yet a large number of youth who live in these areas, exhibit the creativity and skill set to make it in the industry. Unfortunately, they rarely do, due to a lack of support. Having identified this gap, Shaaf recruits at risk youth who have a talent for graphic design and spends time fine tuning their skills so that they can be employed in the industry.

Wandisile Nqeketho – 18 Gangster Museum

The 18GangsterMuseum is a museum that is curated by ex gangsters. It is the first on the African continent and the second in the world. Using their experiences of being in gangs, and in yearning to positively contribute to society, the former gangsters, educate young people on the dangers and repercussions of being a gang-member.

Yolanda Methvin – Litha Flora

Litha Flora African Botanicals is an indigenous wisdom infused Health & Wellness brand. Its products include herbal teas, herbal cleansing bars and herbal bath salts. The products are locally sourced in Cape Town empowering local farmers who often struggle with market access. Through this brand, Yolanda further aspires to shift the negative perceptions that exist around the African continent.

As always, we look forward to working closely with these entrepreneurs over the coming years and support them as they strengthen their ventures and increase their impact. 

Spark* Kenya Changemakers – July 2015

As of today 149 Spark* Changemakers have significantly and measurably changed the lives of 84,142 people living in poverty across East Africa, South Africa and the Pacific.

In just a few weeks we will welcome seventeen new entrepreneurs into our network.

We are excited to announce the successful candidates for our July 2015 program:

Aghan Oscar Joshua – Corelimited

Oscar believes that it is possible to reduce the amount of waste in landfills, curb deforestation rates, and vandalism. This is why his company, Core Limited, makes affordable, high quality and durable products using mixed post-consumer waste blended with sand. All this, while directly and indirectly providing jobs to at-risk youth.

Beverly Mbeke – Kuhustle

With the high rate of unemployment in Kenya and across Africa, Beverly has come up with a way to tap into the global market through an online platform. Kuhustle is an online marketplace that sources jobs across the globe and use local African expertise to deliver on these projects. Kuhustle offers a platform that is tailored to the African skills, payment procedures, soft skills and resources with training that is quality focused addressing the African need.

Caroline Mtongolo – Zoi Investment Limited

Healthy living is important for the survival of a community. Even more important is provision of a source of livelihood for the community. Caroline, through her company, Zoi Investment Limited has come up with a way to merge the two and provide an all round solution through mushroom production. This creates jobs for people living in poverty.

Erick Mudogo 

Disability is not inability. This is Erick’s belief and having seen the discrimination that disabled individuals face, yet they have the qualifications needed, he started an organization whose main focus is to empower needy youth living with disability. His organisation provide online employment  to them by offering online jobs.

Goodluck Gamaliel – Iko Eco

The greatest problem in Africa is waste disposal. Many African countries are not equipped to deal with the amount of waste its citizens produce, leading to public health risk and environmental damage. This results in the citizens burning, burying, or dumping their waste. Said practices release dangerous carcinogens into the atmosphere resulting in health problems. Iko Eco implements incentivized and accessible collection programs to encourage the safe and appropriate disposal of plastic waste, while creating jobs.

Eunice Likoko 

Lack of employment or the skills necessary has resulted in many a women turning into prostitution. However, most women engaging in prostitution to earn a living and are willing to embrace alternative sources of income. That is why Eunice and her organisation are working with these women to access viable alternative sources of income. The organisation is providing a support system for women who are willing to leave prostitution as well as preventing women from resorting to prostitution as a source of income.

Harvey Herr – Mapjam

Hosting a unique and fantastic event requires a combination of a good venue and great artists. Finding these in a country that is full of artists can be quite tricky. Enter Harvey and his company, MapJam. MapJam is a marketplace for booking performing artists and select event services (i.e. audiovisual) and a contractual management platform for contracting local performing artists and event service providers. This ensures that all the processes involved are automated into an agreement interface between parties, removing speculative pricing & generally make it more affordable to rent services & equipment.

Isaac Gogo  

Affordable and clean cooking and lighting energy is hard to come by, especially for the communities who need it the most. Tackling this and helping communities living in poverty is Isaac with his organisation that manufactures fuel briquettes, sell and buy cooking stoves and solar lighting products. The best part, the organisation also provides micro-loans to communities in the slums thus ensuring affordability and uptake.

Josephine Kulea – Samburu Girls Foundation

Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage is still very rampant in Samburu. Young girls are assigned to young unmarried men for sex only while others are married off to older men. Josephine and her organization, Samburu Girls Foundation, have taken up the difficult task of rescuing the girls who are facing the above harmful cultural practices and place them in schools.

Leila Maalim – TasKwetu

Kenyans abroad send money to support their families as well as invest. Yet, many have reported having have gone through the painful experience of having their hard earned moneys wasted. Their relatives or friends misuse the money sent for their personal gains. Kenyans abroad need not worry any more! Leila, through her organisation TasKwetu provides an online professional avenue committed to availing contracted, vetted  errand runners who execute tasks on behalf of Kenyans in the diaspora.

Michael Wambugu – Nu Bree Dairy Ltd

Dairy Farmers receive low prices for their milk and suffer from inconsistent pricing and purchasing patterns from their brokers and middlemen. Bulk purchasers of milk such as hotels and schools go through the same experience. This spills over to residents in urban areas. Nu Bree has come to bridge this gap by focusing on the distribution of whole healthy milk in these residential estates and to people who need it at an affordable price, and the right quality.

Peggy Mativo – PACE

Children are the most vulnerable group in our communities. Going to school is important for the next generation of leaders. The problem is, there are not enough teachers in public schools and especially in slum areas. Peggy, through her organisation, PACE, recruits talented youthful volunteers, train and place them to serve as tutors and mentors to students in under-resourced public schools.

Peris Gitau 

Cassava has been a staple food crop across Kenya. It is therefore important to ensure that this food crop is of high quality to provide nutritional value to the consumers. This is why Peris formed an organization that works on the improvement of the quality of root crops like cassava by obtaining biofortified yellow cassava clones, establishing  nurseries before moving and issuing them to farmers in cassava growing areas. The organisation is also trying to introduce biofortified yellow cassava flour to replace the white variety that has little nutritional value.

Said Twahir – Kencoco

Thousands of women who use firewood as their cooking fuel are at risk of health and breathing related problems. That, together with inefficiency of the cooking fuels and other stoves is what Kencoco is addressing through providing briquettes that emit less harmful smoke and last longer, thus saving the family money that is redirected to other life sustaining expenses.

Sam Okiya Dindi – Mazingira Yetu Technologies

Water borne diseases are preverlent in various parts of the country. This is due to lack of access to clean drinking water. Most households draw water from open streams and unprotected shallow wells that are contaminated with human and animal waste. Sam, through his organisation Mazingira Yetu Technologies, seeks to address this problem through affordable portable water purifier in the form of a ceramic pot. The efficient smoked ceramic water purifier is a pot made out of black, red and sandy soils mixed at a ratio of 40:40:20, able to purify water by reducing turbidity/cloudiness, total dissolved solutes, level of salinity and microbial population.

Violette Wambua – Networking in Heels

Women are the cornerstone of any community and with the world seeing more and more professional women contributing to the economy, it is important to provide a forum for them to exchange ideas, connect and grow. That is what Violette and Networking In Heels does by running networking forums through which women meet, exchange ideas and opportunities in different careers and businesses. legitimate channels.

Vitalis Kahendah – Hopewell

This idea of an integrated curriculum is fairly new. The current approach is that the not so bright kids are sent to village/youth polytechnics for skills training. This negatively affects their self-esteem and confidence as well as limiting their potential for acquiring knowledge, skills and values normally found in high school environments. Vitalis through Hopewell ensures that students get skills to enable them earn money to pay fees and other needs. Hopewell runs a charitbale education centre that incorporates a high school, vocational training division and a community resource centre, where they admit orphaned and vulnerable children who pursue an integrated learning program in which trade/livelihood skills are taken alongside normal curriculum.

Welcome to the Spark* tribe Changemakers!