HEINEKEN Beverages honours history of entrepreneurship, celebrates GSEP graduates and introduces new cohort

HEINEKEN Beverages has announced the continuation of its Green Seeds Entrepreneurship Programme (GSEP), an integral part of the Brew a Better World sustainability initiative. Honouring its entrepreneurial roots since being founded in 1864 by entrepreneur Gerard Heineken, the company remains committed to social impact through community growth and fostering entrepreneurship.

Millicent Maroga, Corporate Affairs Director for HEINEKEN Beverages, emphasised the importance of supporting entrepreneurs within communities. “HEINEKEN believes that small businesses hold the key to unlocking our country’s massive economic potential. Through the Green Seeds Programme, HEINEKEN Beverages aims to progress these enterprises into self-sufficient businesses that are not only able to survive but thrive and hopefully do business with HEINEKEN Beverages in the future.” In addition, they will be able to create jobs and generate long-term wealth for the owners of those businesses.

Focus of the Green Seeds Programme

The Green Seeds Programme is an ongoing Enterprise Development initiative within HEINEKEN Beverages, and aims to empower small businesses by ensuring compliance with relevant legislation, providing access to markets, fostering financial inclusion and addressing the daily challenges encountered by SMEs. The current cohort places a specific focus on sustainable growth, market access, and financial development.

HEINEKEN’s ESD Programme: A Pillar of Support

The Green Seeds Initiative is an integral part of the HEINEKEN Beverages Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) Programme. The programme aims to promote and support entrepreneurship for those interested in starting a small enterprise. Additionally, it offers advanced services for manufacturing optimisation and business efficiency improvement to established businesses. The company’s ESD programme provides support across all stages of the enterprise development life cycle for small businesses. Moreover, it creates opportunities for small businesses in all segments of the HEINEKEN Beverages value chain, encompassing upstream agricultural farming activities, mid-stream product manufacturing (e.g., crown caps), and downstream township business development and tavern support.

Some entrepreneurs who received funding from Heineken

Programme Achievements and Impact

Operated over two years, last year saw numerous small businesses participating, with 17 completing the programme and graduating. An additional 23 new recruits are set to graduate at the end of 2024. Since its inception in 2019, a total of 191 small businesses have benefitted from the programme. While the programme is based in Gauteng, small businesses from various regions, including Soshanguve, Springs, Sharpeville and Soweto, have actively participated.

Diverse Industries Represented by Graduates

The Green Seeds Programme has successfully supported businesses across various industries, including the food and beverage sector, construction, education, IT, fashion, manufacturing (cleaning detergents), water purification, solar, photography, logistics, landscaping, tourism, and recycling.

Unique Aspects of the Green Seeds Programme

The Green Seeds Programme stands out due to its unique features:

  • Building a “Green Seeds Economy”: The programme encourages small businesses to support each other by using each other’s products and services, contributing to the development of a “Green Seeds Economy” and ecosystem.
  • startUP&go Training: The programme begins with startUP&go training, an ILO-endorsed entrepreneurship awareness program that emphasizes entrepreneurship skills.
  • Hands-on Mentorship: The mentorship provided is hands-on and intimate, fostering strong relationships between mentors and small businesses.

Noteworthy Entrepreneurs:

  • Refilwe Masekane, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Sebokeng, stands as the visionary founder and director of Masekane Holdings. Established in 2018, Masekane Holdings encompasses three main divisions, offering a spectrum of services including accounting, construction, and refinery solutions. Displaying leadership qualities from an early age, Refilwe was chosen to represent South Africa at the People-to-People World Leadership Programme in Washington D.C. Despite starting her entrepreneurial journey in 2018 with a mere R13, Refilwe has achieved remarkable growth, transforming that humble amount into a significant enterprise. She emphasises, “I am a product of people believing in me and building me up. Nothing is impossible if you have the right people by your side.”
  • Kenosi Khutsoane, a 28-year-old beauty entrepreneur from Sebokeng and the creative force behind Pink Laav Beauty Bar since its establishment in 2015. Specialising in hair extensions, wig making, hair installations, and makeup, Kenosi has not only built a thriving business but has also extended support to aspiring beauty enthusiasts through classes. The Green Seeds Enterprise Development Programme has propelled Kenosi’s business growth to the extent of opening an additional shop, marking a testament to her dedication and the impact of the programme on her entrepreneurial journey.
  • Zandile Ndala, a 42-year-old entrepreneur from Springs, is the visionary founder of Blackthorn Treats, affectionately known as Zandy’s Sweet Treats. Commencing the venture in 2017 while employed as a food and beverage supervisor at Carnival City, Zandy’s bakery has evolved from making cakes for individual occasions to supplying Carnival City and Kellog’s. Through the Green Seeds Enterprise Development Programme, Zandy has diversified her business by opening a tuck shop and renovating and renting out a small flat to generate additional income. Zandy reflects on her journey, saying, “I always dreamt of starting my own bakery, and I sometimes have to pinch myself now that it’s a reality.”
  • Lufuno Rasoesoe, a dynamic entrepreneur known for pioneering innovative solutions in the chemical detergents sector, stands as a visionary leader with a degree in Mineral Resource Management from the University of Johannesburg. Armed with a Business Management certificate from the Johannesburg Business School and a qualification in Entrepreneurship from GIBS, Lufuno successfully launched TOSH Detergents in March 2021. Leading a vibrant team of nine employees, her products have garnered recognition, being listed with leading retail stores. Lufuno has received numerous awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022 by the United Nations. The success story of TOSH Detergents is fuelled by the business support and strategies gained from the Green Seeds Programme.
  • Nozipho Falatsi, a 36-year-old entrepreneur from the Vaal, is the founder of Scents By Kamo, which embarked on its journey in 2018. Based in Parys and the Vaal, Nozipho’s mission is to harness the power of aromatherapy oils and fragrances to transform and popularize their use in both homes and personal care. With a passion for creating inviting and calming environments, Nozipho seeks to transform the way people perceive and incorporate oils into their daily lives. Her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication are paving the way for Scents By Kamo to become a household name, enchanting customers worldwide with an exquisite range of perfumes, candles, room spray, and diffusers. Nozipho’s commitment to sustainability and ethical practices sets the brand apart, ensuring that each product is an eco-conscious masterpiece.

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