First week(s) in Cape Town!

There we are!!
We are already for two weeks in business in Cape Town. After a weekend of settling in and do a little sightseeing in Cape Town, Monday was the kick-off day. In the Netherlands we have arranged meetings throughout our stay to set up a sustainable project in terms of female entrepreneurship. Our focus in the first week was about discussing the status quo of female entrepreneurship in Cape Town. It was important for us to know in depth what is going on and from that point we developed ourselves as experts on this field. From this point, we could sell our project to stakeholders and other potential investors. At the moment, it is client hunting. We’ve already talked to the University of the Western Cape and to the CEO of Business Bridge as well as to the social entrepreneurial initiative called Mhani Gingi. Those institutes could be potential investors for this project. So things are going great!

In addition, we decided to conduct a pilot study by giving workshops to a group of 8 female entrepreneurs on Saturdays. From this point, we can easily see where the focus should be put on in terms of learning skills. This study will show us were the needs are of the ladies and by knowing this, we can target potential investors better and sell our project. Providing these workshops is also for us such a learning curve. You get to know the South-African culture in depth. One of those ladies organized on Women’s Day (which is a national holiday especially for women) a network gathering for her business with inspirational speakers. It was already a culture shock, since this event was organized in Mount Nelson, one of the most prestigious hotels in Cape Town. She wanted to raise funds with this project, by spending an enormous amount of money, which looks very contradicting. The workshops we are running provide an enormous learning point for the females, for example in terms of goal setting: setting a timeline, specify the vision of their business and also to make it achievable.

We are looking for the upcoming days to get to know more in depth the above-mentioned institutions where we are planning to cooperate with. We´ll keep you posted!

Soon SAFE is in Cape Town!

In a couple of days, the SAFE team will be in Cape Town!! We are looking forward to put our ideas and our mission a step further and finally into practice!:-) In the last weeks we have been working on the specific contents of the different business related workshops we are going to conduct with eight women who are owning a business together with a non profit organisation (Releasing Eagles). The founder of the organisation is Candice Booysen and an experienced industrial psychologist, coach and mentor of these women. This cooperation was established in order to create and implement a self-sustaining community through mentorship as well as the development of women leadership and business management skills. In each of the five weeks of our stay we are conducting a workshop to a different business topic which we have identified during the interviews with the ladies. The challenge ist o bring them all on one level and to make them thinking about a solution about their business and problems which they are currently facing. The businesses for example differ from a hairdresser shop to a small coffee shop or to an educational „math lab“-providing mathematic education to young people. Also their ages and experiences in „being an entrepreneur“ varies-however, we have designed an interesting and interactive programme for the ladies and we are excited how the next weeks and the workshop will run. Right now, we are finalizing the details and are in close contact with Candice.

Besides that, we have planned our first weeks of meetings with relevant stakeholders for the empowerment of female entrepreneurship in Cape Town. Some contacts were already established from the previous team, and some we established through our own research and network about the topic. Our goal is to connect and collaborate together with educational institutions, private organizations who want to commit to female entrepreneurship in a long-term perspective as well as to governmental institutions such as the local chamber of commerce. Together we are aiming to promote leadership skills for entrepreneurial women in Cape Town, ideally from disadvantaged communities which unleashes them to initiate change in their communities.
We do that with the support of the stakeholders we are going to meet in Cape Town as well as with the advice we have already received from previous meetings about encouraging female entrepreneurship here in the Netherlands.

Together we are aiming to:
-support and encourage individual and community business related skills and leadership development for women in Cape Town (as a start in South Africa)
-provide education and support for women to actively participate at decision-making levels of society.

With the SAFE initiative we think that economic sustainability in the society of South Africa can be a reached. In addition to that, these Alliance members are seen as catalysts who support collaborative action to accelerate change and scale impact.

We´ll keep you posted about the upcoming days! And: if you have 2 minutes,
connect us with a person or organization that could support us!
We are looking for contacts! Just email us your contact and copy us and we will take it from here:
viracsouthafrica@gmail.com
Of course, your thoughts, ideas and advice with regards to this topic is always welcome! You can also check out our facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/CPTsafe?fref=ts

Have a good day!

SAFE Team
Bildschirmfoto 2014-07-24 um 21.55.11

SAFE in local german newspaper!

#newspaper #article #safe #awareness #female #entrepreneurship

#newspaper #article #safe #awareness #female #entrepreneurship

Last week, the SAFE project had it´s first footprint in a local german newspaper called “Neue Westfälische” in Lübbecke, North-Rhine Westphalia. One of our team members, Franziska, told them about the mission and goals of the SAFE project. The team will head to South Africa in August to help and support entrepreneurial females in and around the townships in Capetown to gain economic independence and future prospects. This is done by conducting workshops with local female entrepreneurs and institutions for teaching entrepreneurship. The article raised awareness for the public and also for several small-and medium sized entreprises from the region, which are hidden champions in their field of expertise. The SAFE project hopes to have raised awareness and interest for the importance of encouraging female entrepreneurship, not only in the local regions, but especially in the townships of South Africa in Capetown. Here are a few outlines from the article, translated in english:

“Our team is working together with seven small entrepreneurs in the townships. One of them is brickyard owner Ayanda . She has  already four staff members in her small company . However, a long-term oriented business plan is lacking, says the 26- year-old young woman. ” I’m having trouble with the management of the business and an annual planning of my business.”

The SAFE Team will help the young entrepreneur in corporate planning and will develop together with Ayanda a strategy for her company , analyze business strengths and weaknesses. “The project combines social entrepreneurship with South Africa and gives me the opportunity to learn further research and consulting experience.” says Franziska.

Especially the personal development of young entrepreneurs is be encouraged by the student project . Because, we think that the future of South Africa is carried by the shoulders of women and their hidden potentials. “Only with them and through them real changes are possible,” says Franziska Lingemann.

The full article (in german) can be reached here

SAFE project continues

In our previous post we indicated that we are working with 7 entrepreneurs in Cape Town. Desk research still continues in South Africa and the Netherlands. We have received business profiles from these women in Cape Town. In addition we had telephone and skype calls with these entrepreneurs and other stakeholders. We are trying by every means to have a way forward that can help each and everyone of you. At the moment we are looking for donors, well wishers, companies that can help us in cash or kind to make our projects possible. We believe that the future of women in Cape Town is in their hands. For donations, please follow this link http://www.betterplace.org/de/projects/18326-south-african-female-entrepreneurship-projekt

South Africa Celebrates Freedom Day

Freedom Day is a South Africa public holiday celebrated on 27 April. South Africans celebrate freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. They were the first national elections in South Africa in which the franchise did not depend upon race. As SAFE project, we wish South Africans a happy Freedom day and all the best in their  endeavors. 

We also want to wish the female entrepreneurs in Cape Town  a lot more freedom days. As we work with them to make better days in their lives, we kindly ask donations from individuals and companies either in cash or in kind. For more information about fundraising, please follow this link 

https://www.betterplace.org/de/projects/18326-south-african-female-entrepreneurship-projekt 

ABOUT FUNDRAISING

The program still goes on and it is our mission to help females in the townships of Cape Town. At the moment, we are doing desk research to make sure that when we come to Cape Town, everything will go well. We have seven (7) talented females in Cape Town who need to acquire entrepreneurial skills and start their own businesses. However, for our program to be successful, we need sponsorship. We are kindly asking for donations from companies and individuals. Whatever you can donate, no matter how small or big, it all counts. Please lets help vulnerable women in Cape Town. For more information, please follow the link http://www.betterplace.org/de/projects/18326-south-african-female-entrepreneurship-projekt

CAPE TOWN FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS WE HAVE YOU IN OUR HEARTS

Our project, the South African Female Entrepreneurship (SAFE) is an entrepreneurial empowerment project that has pioneered in Cape Town. The aim is to empower women by helping them to tackle the business challenges that they are experiencing. Meeting these entrepreneurs and getting involved physically, emotionally and assisting them the best way we know how to do business is our goal. The sole aim is to make a difference in their business and lives!

Together with Releasing Eagles, a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) situated in Cape Town, a plan is set up to coach, train and mentor seven female (starting) entrepreneurs in townships. Our objective is to provide help and support for starting or expanding businesses for the females between 16 to 25 years in order to create better living circumstances. However this in not our boundaries. Our project is ongoing and our aim is to empower as more women as possible

This is not goodbye

Dear readers,

It has been quiet on the webpage, but the project didn’t stop at all. Tshifango is back in Johannesburg, and Elmira and I went to the Netherlands. The reunion with our families, friends and lovers lasted only one weekend. The first reality check we encountered was on Monday, were the university paperwork that needed to be done pilled up. Additionally, we are busy writing the final report for the next team to use, when they are going to Capetown! Yes, there is a new, fresh group of students being selected -at this very moment- to continue our project. 

So, the project doesn’t stop here. Neither does it for us. We will stay involved as much as we can, and hopefully, be able to visit Cape town in some years to see how it is going. Upcoming friday, Elmira and I will have an interview with AT5. AT5 is an Amsterdam Television channel, and they will broadcast a 6minute movie of the project and our experiences. We wil of course upload this to the website as well. 

I hope you all enjoyed our stories. And not to worry, as more will still come. We’d like to thank all the involved people, family and friends, for their support, enthusiasm and faith in us. Our time in Cape town was a lifetime experience. Thank you for making that possible. And, the situation in South Africa, is still there. We should all keep on doing good work, try to help whenever you can….

 

VIRAC TEAM – 2014

Faith in humanity

Aside

Last monday we saw the pastor and his wife Junice again. We went with them to a chicken farm, where all people from communities all over Cape town come and by chicken feet. They buy these chicken feet to cook or braai them in their village and then sell it to the locals. The idea of us coming to this farm was to get the broader picture on what the work includes, how long it takes etc.

So, after 1,5 hour or so we had the chicken feet and went back to Guguleto. Janice started cleaning them and we counted the feet and started making calculations on their finances. The profit they make is minimal: it’s just enough to cover the costs of daily life – and no room for saving. If you can save 4 Rand per day (0.20 eurocents) than it will take you years before you can make a big investment. That was the first reality check.

The second reality check came where we got quite a bit disappointed; in the end they asked us to buy them a freezer. In our opinion we have been very clear about our purpose here in Cape town. And that we’re don’t have the money either to ‘just’ buy a freezer for them. So as we left, we felt a bit down about this whole situation in Cape town. Today, we will go to them again, and we will bring chicken wings (instead of feet). They can sell those chicken wings for a higher amount, thus starting saving more and perhaps expanding their business.

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What we’ve realized more and more is that investments and donations are necessary. But on the other hand an entrepreneur is something from the inside: not something that can get feed by money. Due to the ‘unfortunate’ situation as us being white, people tend to see a bag of money walking in. Many people we’ve talked with so far experienced these same things. But all of them underline that there are people who don’t ‘just’ want money and are passionate about starting there own business. It’s a real quest to find them.. And unfortunately we just (now) met a lady who studies these kinds of groups and has many females who definitely are willing to start their own company. For the next group to take over this project, this is a great opportunity!

On tuesday we went to Spice4Life together with Celestine (that is ‘our angel’, Joop). Spice4Life is  a lifestyle website, with different branches in any direction. They have  a project running in Dunoon (another township! Can you still remember all the names?!), where they help entrepreneurs setting up their own business. But they do it by means of financing them, the entrepreneur have to present a business plan, and show the effort he/she has put already to make the business work. This is a very valuable contact, where we definitely can work with. They organize once per year an event where all entrepreneurs and potential customers come together in a trade fair. Immediately, my mind was creating more ideas and plans for the future of this project….

To continue, it was a lovely chat we had with Kelsey. They will publish an article/blog about us, and she arranged for us to be on a radio broadcast, that next morning. Click HERE to see the broadcast. They wanted the girls to talk, since female entrepreneurs, spice4life and women empowerment are the ‘hot’ topics..

COOKING SOUP!

Yesterday was different from every other day so far. We went to the father of Caroline (she was an exchange student in Amsterdam), to visit him in ‘Vrijgrond’ (Yes! Another township!). The father is named Daniel, and he is a very religious and ‘good’ person. He raised 7 daughters and 2 sons, so you can imagine how that has shaped him. He now lives in this community to serve the community, to help them where he can. Every thursday he cooks soup for them (for about 200 people!) served with bread or pap. So we decided to help him out, and see how a day like this looks like for him.

When we arrived, the soup was already boiling. Nothing much we could do there, so we went talking and discussing about life (and christianity, people in South Africa are very religious still). A student from Switzerland came in, together with two older people from Switzerland. The student helped a lot in the community as well, where he ‘learned’ it from the master, Daniel. So after talking for a while, we went on a stroll through the township. Some parts are definitely better than the townships we’ve seen; as the infrastructure was kind of visible. But other parts looked pretty much like Lavender Hill, where the shooting had happened. The girl who went with us, told us the situation in Vrijgrond is similar to Lavenderhill: lots of drinking/drug abuse (she called it Tick or something like that? I’m still trying to understand ‘Xosa’ language…), gangs, shooting etc. So when we walked there, a kid run by and try to snitch of the golden necklace of the older guy from Switzerland. That was when we decided to walk back to Daniel and his safe community center..

When we arrived, it was afternoon and the first people started to trickle in. So Elmira and I poured the soup into everyone’s bowl (they were very inventive with the soup bowls: from an empty butter cup to water buckets) and the Suisse lady gave them the bread. I found it a bit difficult to see that most of the villagers did not even seem the notice or realize that they were getting soup & bread: they wouldn’t even look up. Just took it and walked away, while these people who make the soup and buy all the ingredients don’t have much to spend either..

It did restore my faith in humanity. Seeing that even the people who don’t have much, want to do good for the community breaks my heart. In my opinion, everyone who will come visit Cape town, should work with them for one thursday! Contact us if you’re interested….

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Working networks

Only 1,5 week left, and so much work still to do. Last thursday we met Celestine, a friendly lady who’s studying her doctoral in Women Entrepreneurship. She is a very valuable contact for making connections with influential people that can help with this project. Tomorrow, we will meet with a friend/connection of hers: a woman who started the organization ‘Spice4Life‘. This organization is ran by females, who provide people from the township Dunoon with finances when these people have a proper business idea/plan. It will be a good meeting for this project to work with them, as they have many connections and are experienced in our type of projects.

On saturday we went to Guguleto, another township located near Capetown. We went together with Ndumi, the lady who has the NGO for lesbian abused women. In Guguleto we met a pastor and his wife, who run a (homemade) church within the township. Additionally, they also cook chicken-legs and icelolly’s for people from the neighborhood. The difficulty they have with their business is that they do not know the costs and earnings they make, and are not aware of how to manage the finances. Second, as they are a church, they give away drinks and food as a favor for people and children from the townships.
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Today we had a follow-up meeting with them again, this time without Ndumi. 3 times per week they go to a farm to buy the chicken legs So we went to collect them, to see how the process goes and how much time it actually takes (in total) to prepare this African delight. When we came back, they lady started cleaning the chicken legs and dividing them into smaller portions. These activities take a lot of labour time. After cleaning the chicken legs, she puts them into a pan to cook it with all sorts of spices. I won’t bother you with the financial details.. Lets put it like this: the business makes just enough money to be profitable, but in the end they are not able to save money. So, as we talked and talked, the real intentions became clear again to us: we can help them with their business, but their first concern is to get donations/funding. As they explained, they needed a freezer so they can start expanding their business. But to buy a freezer: they have to save their money for a very very long time.

This project is more difficult then one would ever imagine. We meet so many people, and everyone is very welcoming and thankful we’re here to help. But, without donations/funding there is no business growth. And we’re not here to ‘just’ donate money to the best sales man. The longer we’re here, the clearer the picture of South Africa becomes. Imagine, you make at most 2 euros profit per day, how can you ever save for investments? Even micro financing is not an option: as that will increase your daily/weekly/monthly expenses which you cannot afford.

However, I do believe in ‘where a will is, is a way’. And I think that is something more people should be aware of here. There are many organizations and NGO’s who try to motivate/support starters (or entrepreneurs) with their businesses. The key challenge is to change the mindset, or the enlighten the entrepreneurial spark. And yes, any help in every direction is more than welcome & necessary. The key question is more about how can one change a person, refraining from its background, ideas and thoughts on life?

So, as the end is coming closer, the finishing line seems further away than ever. This project needs to stay alive, it should continue once we’re gone. We are now trying to make the network as tight and useful as possible, keeping in mind the next group of students who could easily pick this up and start building from there. SAFE project is not something that happens over-night. It takes time, years, eventually..