Call for entries: 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Impact Lab™ programme

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SEIL is designed for social entrepreneurs who wish to scale their business model and improve their investment readiness in alignment with social-impact goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (Image: Supplied)
SEIL is designed for social entrepreneurs who wish to scale their business model and improve their investment readiness in alignment with social-impact goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (Image: Supplied)

20 October 2021 – Finding solutions to the most pressing problems of our time requires more than the work of the public and non-governmental sectors – there is a growing opportunity for innovative “social entrepreneurs” to solve social, economic and environmental challenges while building profitable and sustainable businesses. 

To support the viability of South African social entrepreneurs, FNB has partnered with business growth specialists Fetola to deliver the Social Entrepreneurship Impact Lab™ (SEIL) Programme for the second year.

The FNB SEIL Programme

SEIL is designed for social entrepreneurs who wish to scale their business model and improve their investment readiness in alignment with social-impact goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The programme will support the growth of 50 social entrepreneurs who are tackling pressing social, environmental, and economic issues in South Africa. The programme will provide the support solutions that social entrepreneurs need to significantly change their growth pathway and reach the full potential and impact of their social enterprise.

The first 12-month phase offers targeted and practical business growth support and an introduction to investment readiness. Thereafter, 20 high potential enterprises will be selected to receive investment readiness support during an intensive 6-month second phase. Successful applicants for Phase 2 will receive expert tailored solutions to accelerate their enterprise, including individual mentorship from experienced, skilled mentors, access to powerful peer networks, targeted introductions to potential partners and finance providers, and investment readiness support to help them build healthy resilience and lasting scale.

Impact of the first SEIL cohort

The 2021 cohort will be the second in the programme’s history. Amongst the 17 enterprises that took part in the inaugural 2020 programme, 54 permanent jobs were sustained, 24 jobs were created, while their combined turnover grew by 123%. Participants on the programme also created lasting social benefit, with over 28 000 persons provided with access to educational and training services, 7700 persons with access to Covid-testing while over 3300 could access a medical practitioner as a direct result of the work done by SEIL participants.

Following the programme’s first round in 2020, the FNB and Fetola teams have focused on creating maximum value for the participating enterprises, as Catherine Wijnberg, Fetola’s Director, explains: “During the first round of the programme we identified several key solutions that helped participants leverage their core strengths and capabilities for maximum benefit. It’s exciting to be working with FNB on the SEIL Programme – they understand the important legacy value of social enterprises and are committed to playing a meaningful and supportive role in the space.”

Heather Lowe, Head of Enterprise Development at FNB Business, said of the first cohort: “We know what a challenging time this has been for all South Africans and particularly small businesses, and we were really impressed with the resilience shown by some of the entrepreneurs, who were able to

pivot their businesses and find new opportunities in the midst of volatile conditions. That’s the mindset – entrepreneurial, resilient, and innovative – that we want to build through the SEIL Programme.”

SEIL graduate Zinacare

When Zinacare was selected as a participant in the first FNB SEIL Programme, the company’s primary focus was to improve access to medical testing and screening in the sexual health and women’s health markets through a direct-to-consumer approach.

At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreaks, Zinacare found themselves well positioned to conduct COVID-19 screening, and rapidly pivoted to establish drive-through COVID-19 testing facilities in Gauteng.

Zinacare introduced additional COVID-19 testing channels through private house calls and testing at corporate offices. Since launching, 7900 COVID-19 tests have been performed, 20 jobs have been created, and sales revenue has increased beyond initial projections and continues to rise. Zinacare's work currently contributes to four of the 17 UN SDGs, and they have recently been selected to participate in international development programmes and partnerships. 

Social impact highlight – SEIL graduate Kusini Water

More than six million people in South Africa lack access to clean drinking water. Kusini Water provides clean drinking water to local communities by making mobile, solar powered water purification systems from locally sourced macadamia nutshells and nanofibers. Since the start of the programme, Kusini Water has supplied over 3 million litres of clean drinking water per month to communities across the country. Kusini Water, which now operates over 30 sites, improved their turnover by 149%,  created 5 new jobs, and secured partnerships and contracts with DHL, O.R. Tambo Foundation, BEVSA, the US Embassy and DuPont Chemicals.

Call for entries into the 2021 SEIL Programme

If you have a product or service that does good things for people and the planet, then the FNB Social Entrepreneurship Impact Lab (SEIL) might be for you.

If your business:

  • Is at least 51% black owned with annual turnover not exceeding R10m
  • Offers a market-ready product or service that delivers positive social impact
  • Is scalable and has job creation and growth potential
  • Is a registered enterprise run on for-profit principles
  • Operates within South Africa’s borders
  • Has a proven track record including market traction
  • Focuses on high-impact sectors such as water, energy, waste, food security, education, or technology, and
  • Has a BIG vision for the future …

Find out more or apply online by visiting Fetola’s website > Entrepreneurs > Opportunities.

Applications open on 20 October and close on 24 November 2021.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by FNB.

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