Activators reign supreme at the Innovation Summit
Financial literacy activist from Butterworth, Xolisile Malgas and food security campaigner from Tsolo Nkululeko Ngqinambi along with anti-drug abuse Port Elizabeth based Aloma Malgas scooped entrepreneurial partnerships at the 2017 Innovation Summit that took place on the 6th to the 8th of September at the Cape Town Stadium.
The Innovation Summit supports and promotes innovation and facilitates collaboration between people to inspire sustained economic growth in South Africa. The outcomes achieved by the Summit, amplify and revive South Africa’s renowned competitive edge and it is a powerful tool to bring together thought leaders and practitioners in the field of innovation, show-case success stories, provide entrepreneurial support and accelerate growth.
The Grahamstown based social entrepreneur Nkululeko is the founder of Arum, an agriculture organic fertiliser (Smart Grow) producing enterprise. He applauds ACTIVATE! for linking him up with what he describes as “eye-opening business accelerating platforms’’ that has not just empowered him as an entrepreneur but also opened dozens of doors that will see his social enterprise grow faster than he ever thought.
“The Innovation Summit was the best thing to have ever happened to my entrepreneurial and community development journey. Some of my highlights were, securing big clients for my business, direct genuine one-on-one engagement with corporate sector decision maker and investors, short mentorship experience by Agri tech Director of Innovation Summit from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and most importantly getting the invite for my project at their Symposium in Sandton. That minor success alone, I could only have received through ACTIVATE! training,” he said.
Aloma Malgas whose project “Rea Thusa” addresses thuggery and drug abuse in one of the notorious townships in Port Elizabeth was one young person that was funded at this year’s SA Innovation Summit. She intends to extend her organisation’s reach and impact.
The Innovation Summit was a big eye-opener for me. The platform gave me a great opportunity to access and communicate directly to business captains, investors, social entrepreneurs, academics, innovation experts and fellow social change drivers. The lessons I have learned from ACTIVATE! training programmes like Switch really proved to be helpful for me as a social entrepreneur. I used the opportunity to learn as much as I could, network, market myself and my organisation. I would like to thank ACTIVATE! They revived my social entrepreneurial spirit. A number of interesting presentations reminded me that indeed there are lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there is only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world,” said Aloma.
On the other hand, the marketing and business development specialist based in Butterworth (Aloma) is the founder of early childhood financial literacy and emotional intelligence called Mwanga Youth Development Fund. According to Aloma, the East London grade 8 to 12 schooling pupils’ money saving entrenching social enterprise might not have received funding but formidable partnership it formed are far bigger than he can ever bargain for at this stage of his business.
“We did not win anything at the summit there was no competition but the summit offered a networking channel that you could set up meetings and do small presentations about your product or project to potential investors and partners and this was the case for Mwanga Youth Development Fund.”
“A startup company called MenUP Industries saw our value and scheduled a meeting with us. The meeting resulted in our businesses agreeing that MenUP will assist us in developing of a financial literacy accreditation standard module, preparing funding proposals and developing a strategic approach and sustainability model,” said Aloma.
Event coordinators and social change drivers Lezerine Mashaba and Claire Gemmill confirmed that the three Eastern Cape based social change drivers were among the 27 Activators from all over the country who applied with their startup businesses or social development projects and won tickets to attend this year’s conference. Claire said many of the Activators present made great connections with investors and other mentorship support.
“It was an exciting space to gain new insights and information on what entrepreneurship looks like across South Africa and the continent. It was really incredible to see and hear all the enthusiasm from Activators who were stepping up to promote their innovative projects and businesses. Some had a chance to pitch and attributed it to the confidence gained in the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers residential training programme, which equips Activators with public speaking, dialogue and debating skills, among others. The Summit was really a success and people took a lot away from the experience,” said Gemmill