International whisky brand Chivas Regal has just unveiled the five finalists of its Win the Right Way campaign. Included are two inspiring women-led social ventures from South Africa, Subz founded by Sue Barnes (pictured above left), and Rethaka Trading creators of Repurpose School Bags, founded by Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane (pictured above right).
The competition provides aspiring social entrepreneurs with a share of US$1-million in financial assistance, international exposure for their company or idea, and mentorship from world-renowned business moguls. One of these startups will be crowned the South African winner at the end of February, after which it will join twenty other entrepreneurs from around the globe in Silicon Valley for the mentorship programme. The competition is an open invitation to social entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to tackle social problems and create sustainable change in a profitable way. Entrants need a great idea and solid business plan that illustrates just how their start-up will affect real change in their community. Entries will be judged on five major criteria: Social Purpose, Viability, Scalability, Practicality, and Credentials. To find out more, go to www.theventure.com. In April 2015, the finalists will be revealed on TheVenture.com where the public can show their support by voting for their favourite finalist and crowd-funding their idea. Public votes will determine how $250,000 of the $1 million fund is distributed among the finalists so winning hearts and minds is key.
Sue Barnes created Subz in response to a request for the donation of washable sanitary pads and panties for the under privileged girls in her area. Subz are panties to which sanitary pads can be clipped. There are 7 million girls in South Africa between the ages of 10 and 19 that every year miss 3 months of vital school education, as they cannot afford sanitary pads or do not have access to them. Sue designed, developed and patented a sustainable washable sanitary pad that will last these young girls for 5 years, and as a result, allows them to continue their schooling uninterrupted. She distributes the pads to the girls free of charge, accompanied by essential educational information on female reproductive organs, as many are not well informed on such vital health and wellbeing issues.
Subs panties are eco-friendly, made of 100% cotton knit which allows the skin to breath. The elastic has a standard non-woven rubber base, and won’t stretch out of shape. The washable sanitary pad has 6 layers, the outer being the 100% cotton knit, water proofing, 3 layers of hydrophilic fabric and then the inner is a hydrophobic fabric. It also has SABS absorbency approval. This social entrepreneurship venture is providing a tangible and sustainable solution to a major challenge in South Africa, thereby giving these young girls a real chance in life to fulfil their potential.
Rethaka Trading creators of Repurpose School Bags is a for profit social enterprise that specialises in green innovative solutions for social development. Their Repurpose Schoolbag is a practical and sustainable solution to a major problem for many kids living in rural and non-electrified parts of South Africa. When the final school bell rings each afternoon, it doesn't just signal the end of another day of learning. Instead, it also means the beginning of an arduous trek along busy and dangerous roads to get back home in time to complete their homework before sunset. Repurpose designs school bags from up-cyled plastic bags, integrating solar technology that charges during the day and transforms into light for school kids to study after dark. These 100% recycled plastic schoolbags are changing the lives of young learners - they are not only environmentally friendly, but they provide much needed renewable energy light sources for these young students who need to study after dark at home where electric light simply doesn’t exist. The integration of reflective light material in the bags also provides much needed visibility for these young students on the often dangerous roads as they walk many kilometers each day just to attend school. These young eco-preneurs are real game changers and are destined for great things.