The Youth Employment Service (YES) announced the launch of two exciting new business partnerships at the Kago Yes4Youth Community Hub in Tembisa this week, fulfilling the organisation’s aim of kick-starting new commercial ventures and stimulating job creation within local communities.
Officially opened in June 2018, the Kago Community Hub offers local youth access to a diverse range of training programmes ranging from coding to nutrition and business management, as well as hosting an urban aquaponic farming initiative. These latest partnerships represent the hub’s next stage of evolution, as it launches a manufacturing business aimed at producing and selling environmentally friendly sanitary products, and a micro-distribution business aimed at facilitating the supply of FMCG goods to homes, retailers and spaza shops within the area.
This next phase of the community hub is particularly exciting because it demonstrates the hub’s potential as a commercial centre, creating sustainable jobs and supporting businesses in the local community, notes Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville, Chief Executive of YES.
“The hub is a space that, through the use of frontier technology, demonstrates what members of the community can be and what they can strive towards, seeding competitive local businesses and empowering youth to work in and grow these small businesses,” she says.
“It is a space where role models and exposure to global best practice can empower and inspire youth to lift themselves from the social and economic situations in which they often find themselves.”
Fully compostable feminine hygiene products
Blossom Care Solutions is partnering with YES to introduce a manufacturing, sales and marketing business that is focused on producing feminine care products. Aiming to provide every girl in SA with access to sanitary dignity, Blossom is using new technology to manufacture 100% compostable and affordable menstrual hygiene products.
The Blossom sanitary pads fully decompose within 90-120 days compared to almost 50 years with ordinary pads. And not only is this revolutionary product helping to save the environment, it is also creating work for 12 previously unemployed female youth from Tembisa who have been employed to work in the business.
Based on the concept of a product that is made for women, by women, a key component of the business is that at the end of the first year of production, the 12 young women will take ownership of the business via a social franchise. These women will then become owners of the business with the support of a team at Blossom, who will continue to oversee training, marketing, sourcing of raw materials and expansion programs.
Blossom is working in close association with YES, and will invest in similar operations at every YES community hub location around the country.
Micro-distribution for the township
The second exciting partnership for YES is Buddibox, a last-mile distribution, sales and marketing business which has contracts with large FMCG companies that allow it to deliver their products from the Buddibox warehouse at the Kago Hub to homes, spaza stores, and other retailers in the Tembisa area.
Using a tech platform similar to Uber, community members can earn an income from hyper-local distribution of products. Anyone who has a bicycle, a scooter, a minivan – any form of transport – can register on the Buddibox app as a distribution agent. Then, if there are deliveries available, the community member can pick it up, deliver it and get paid.
There are some important benefits to this business model:
- This is an especially efficient way of managing distribution. Using local people, with local knowledge results in far speedier delivery of items.
- The FMCG companies do not need to own the delivery vehicles and merely pay for the short-term delivery cost, making deliveries more cost-efficient.
- Local community members profit from the ownership of their transport in a way that they have not been able to previously, enabling them to “sweat their assets”.
Up to 50 direct and 300 indirect jobs to be generated
When fully functional, these two projects will create as many as 50 direct jobs at the hub and a further 300 indirect jobs.
“This is a key strategy that YES is beginning to deploy,” explains Ismail-Saville. “Within the next 12 months, a further 6-8 hubs will become operational, each focusing on developing commercial enterprises on site, as well as continuing to offer numerous training programmes from digital to aquaponics’ and small business development support programs.”
The hubs that YES is rolling out aim to provide smart infrastructure solutions as a way to tackle South Africa’s youth unemployment issues, bringing economic opportunities to the townships where the largest proportion of unemployed youth can be found.
“In Tembisa, for example, when we are fully operational with all of the planned enterprise development projects, we will have created 390 permanent jobs and a further 2,500 indirect jobs in the community,” adds Ismail-Saville.
“The enterprises at the hub will generate R120 million annually in revenue that will contribute to and develop the local township economy. Furthermore, salaries paid to staff will generate an additional R55 million in spending power, most of which will be spent locally.”
The impact of the hubs is therefore extremely significant at a local level. They are offering the opportunity for business development, for a route to market as well as critical skills training. The income generation potential combined with the imperative of reversing the apartheid scars of dormitory towns means that the community hubs have the possibility to drive serious economic transformation in South Africa.