The recently launched Barloworld Social Youth Innovation Awards (BSIYA) recognise and support youth-led entrepreneurial innovations that are creating social value and have the potential for longevity and scalability. This year, the BSIYA was run in partnership with Enactus South Africa, an international non-profit organisation (NPO) which connects student, academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial projects that empower people to transform challenges into opportunities for sustainable progress, for themselves and their communities.
In addition to its focus on education and the environment, Noluvo Ngcwabe, head of Barloworld CSI, explains that the company’s investment in social innovation aims to help address South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis. The BSIYA celebrate youth who, despite being formally unemployed, find creative ways of contributing to the development of their communities. Through its long-term commitment to CSI, Barloworld aims to cultivate this same ethos: finding opportunities in challenges.
This project intends to create a platform that will amplify the voices and visions of youth in communities across South Africa. Barloworld believes that unemployed youth who are directly affected by various challenges are uniquely positioned to respond creatively, with community-based solutions.
“Often, these solutions need seed funding and other support. However, as they are neither a social NPO nor a business in the traditional sense they often struggle. This is where we see the opportunity to support social innovation and entrepreneurship."
Noluvo Ngcwabe – head of Barloworld CSI
Award winners receive wrap-around support
Three inaugural winners of the Barloworld Social Youth Innovation Awards were announced in July 2017. A team from the University of Venda received first prize for the community- based Mukondeni Ceramic Water Filters and Pottery Project, which addresses clean water shortages and aims to alleviate the high rate of unemployment in Limpopo.
The goal is to recognise exciting initiatives, encourage entrepreneurial action, and support the development of long-term capacity. Ngcwabe explains that, through this wrap-around support, Barloworld aims to empower youth with entrepreneurial spirits to take charge within their communities, thereby helping to realise the long-term impact that Barloworld prioritises in its CSI vision.
“The Barloworld Social Youth Innovation Award will enable our team to continue working on, and to improve, our entrepreneurial project. Our goals include product diversification and increasing the numbers of youth involved.”
Wesley Macebele – president of the winning team, University of Venda
Growing the project and sustaining its impact
Barloworld prioritises meaningful partnerships that ensure effective project implementation and impact. It is envisioned that, as the Barloworld Social Innovation Youth Awards grow, so too will the project’s partnerships with both NPOs and government.
“Coherent with the Barloworld diversity and inclusion strategy, we will also ensure that participating groups include women and girls, as well as those with disabilities,” emphasises Ngcwabe.
Business in Society Handbook, 2017