By Kabelo Colin Mokoena
“Maybe you don’t want to do what you’re currently doing or you’d rather be doing something different. The world is changing and we have to adapt.” – Thulani Sejo, 2017 Switcher.
The best move I’ve made this year is applying to take part in ACTIVATE!’s Switch Social Entrepreneurship Program for 2018. I find myself rethinking every move I’ve ever made as I continue to be empowered for future advances.
Being a 2013 Activator who has been inactive for four years, I now realise that I could have covered more ground had I stayed connected to the network. Fortunately, the same network is still available for me and other Activators who have been distant over the years.
The two-day workshop is packed with information that flows from the well-informed facilitators, current switchers who were ready to share the highs and lows of running their projects, and Switchers from the previous year. It takes good facilitation skills to be able to mention your achievements without making other people feel inferior for not having achieved as much. I witnessed this through Claire and Sinesipho as they encouraged us while delivering transformational content.
The “Why” session confronted me and my reasoning regarding my own project, Psalms And Poems . This assisted me in reaching a resolution for Psalms and Poems. That was only the first session. After we clearly defined what social enterprise is, it was important for me to decide if my project is strictly business alone or is it one that can benefit the unemployed and unqualified youth of Qwaqwa, my community. Can I empower them with the skill of photography and graphic designing?
“We have business people giving constant support to the community without terming it social enterprise”- Leander ‘Jay’ Julius 2018 Switcher.
Through the workshop we learned how to be comfortable with using the term Social Enterprise because we need to realise that this is a way of life for South Africans.
We were introduced to the Switch Business Canvas model which is a tool that is meant to help switchers with more knowledge and accuracy in their initiatives. This is a project “stress test tool that can be used more than once.” said Nhlanhla, an Activator who enlightened us about studying social entrepreneurship at the University of Johannesburg. Nhlanhla gave us more information on the opportunities that are available for switchers. There are partnerships that have developed within the Switch circle. It was a pleasure to meet Thulani Sejo who is a co-founder of Take A Pic Production Pty LTD. His project, Mission On Missions, focuses on getting publicity for individuals who share their missions with him. This is a connection that will be very useful for me in promoting my own project, Psalms And Poems.