Social Entrepreneurs – Today’s Changemakers

Updated on 9 April 2014

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Social entrepreneurs - today's changemakers

Social entrepreneurs practice a slightly different type of entrepreneurship. These individuals are motivated by more than just money, but the desire to address social issues. Social entrepreneurs are those who stop and think about issues like unemployment, poverty, lacking resources and do something about it. Here are five South Africans who are doing just that:

Job creation – Charles Maisel

Innovation is at the heart of what South African entrepreneur Charles Maisel does. His social project, ‘Men By the Side the Road‘, is an initiative that helps labourers who are often found sitting at traffic intersections seeking building and contractor work. Maisel developed a network – Men By the Side the Road – which offers the labourers access to training, tools, qualifications and placements.

Business guidance – Andile Khumalo

Andile Khumalo is the founder of MyStartUp, an online portal aimed at giving first-time entrepreneurs a hand. Khumalo began MyStartUp after realising the increasing number of aspirant South African entrepreneurs, particularly black entrepreneurs who often lacked the basic resources needed to succeed in the world of business. MyStartUp allows entrepreneurs to connect, share, network and interact with other entrepreneurs in various industries. The website also offers tips, advice and resources.

ICT – Luvuyo Rani

Luvuyo Rani’s Silulo Ulutho Internet Café provides residents from some of the country’s most impoverished areas access to the Internet and computer lessons. What started as a small business in Khayelitsha at the Cape Flats, has changed the lives of students and adults who would otherwise would not be computer literate. To date, Rani has opened 18 centres in Khayelitsha and five in the Eastern Cape in Queenstown, Butterworth, Mthatha and East London. Through these centres, at least 10,000 students have been educated, with some taking on advanced computer literacy programmes.

Healthcare – Paul Matthew

Paul Matthew’s work in HIV/Aids prevention in the road freight industry is making an important contribution to finding innovative healthcare delivery models for Africa. The North Star Alliance is a cross-border HIV prevention initiative, founded by Matthew, that has set up a network of roadside wellness clinics along key transport routes in Africa, such as border posts or transit towns. What makes this particular initiative so important is that it is very much in line with the World Economic Forum’s objective to find new ways to deliver healthcare to communities in Africa.

Conservation and social development – Andrew Muir

Environmentalist and social entrepreneur Andrew Muir has dedicated the past 25 years to conservation and social development. He was mentored by conservation icon Dr Ian Player for 13 years and took over his legacy in the management of the various organisations that Player founded, including the world-famous Wilderness Leadership School and Wilderness Foundation. The Wilderness Foundation is a project-driven conservation and leadership organisation that encourages, plans and protects wild lands and wilderness. Apart from being executive director of the foundation, Muir is involved in several projects dedicated to social and environmental sustainability, including the South African-based Umzi Wethu programme, which he founded in 2006. The programme targets vulnerable young people who show resilience and ambition, but lack the opportunities to support their households. The programme gives them working skills and training to become employable young adults.

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