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Find out more about the FNB SEIL programme or apply online visit Fetola’s website. Picture: 123RF/RAWPIXEL
Find out more about the FNB SEIL programme or apply online visit Fetola’s website. Picture: 123RF/RAWPIXEL

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 SA 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 SA. The programme will provide the support that social entrepreneurs need to 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 six-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. Among 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 more than 28,000 people provided with access to educational and training services, 7,700 people with access to Covid-19 testing, while more than 3,300 could access a medical practitioner as a direct result of the work done by Seil participants.

After the programme’s first round in 2020, the FNB and Fetola teams have focused on creating maximum value for the participating enterprises. Fetola director Catherine Wijnberg says: “During the first round of the programme, we identified 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, says of the first cohort: “We know what a challenging time this has been for all South Africans and particularly small businesses, and were really impressed with the resilience shown by some of the entrepreneurs, who were able to pivot their businesses and find new opportunities in 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 itself well positioned to conduct screening, and rapidly pivoted to establish drive-through testing facilities in Gauteng. 

Zinacare introduced additional testing channels through private house calls and testing at corporate offices. Since launching, 7,900 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 contributes to four of the 17 UN SDGs, and was recently selected to participate in international development programmes and partnerships. 

Social impact highlight — Seil graduate Kusini Water 

More than 6-million people in SA 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 more than 3-million litres of clean drinking water a month to communities in SA.

Kusini Water, which now operates more than 30 sites, improved its turnover by 149%, created five new jobs, and secured partnerships and contracts with DHL, OR Tambo Foundation, the Beverage Association of SA, 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 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 SA’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.

Click here to find out more or apply online >>>

Applications close on November 24 2021.

This article was paid for by FNB.


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