Entrepreneurship at the Forefront of Economic Growth in Western Cape’s Informal Economies

Cape Town, 1 July – The Silulo Foundation, a prominent non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering aspiring entrepreneurs, hosted an in-person network session as part of its Entrepreneurship Programme second cohort intake launch. The event brought together esteemed guests, including the Minister of Economic Development in the Western Cape, Mireille Wenger, local entrepreneurs, and key stakeholders, showcasing the foundation’s commitment to fostering economic development and creating job opportunities in townships and informal communities of the Western Cape.

The Silulo Foundation’s entrepreneurship programme offers comprehensive training, mentorship, and resources to aspiring business owners, equipping them with the necessary skills to establish and sustain successful enterprises. With a strong focus on inclusivity, the programme aims to cater to individuals from diverse backgrounds and address the barriers they may have faced in the past.

Building on the remarkable success of the foundation’s first cohort, the launch event highlighted the achievements and impact made by the initial intake of 30 students. A few participants shared their personal journeys, highlighting the benefits derived from boot camps, forums, mentors, and the sense of belonging to a supportive community of like-minded individuals. Their presence at the event reaffirmed their dedication to nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and fostering innovation in the region.

Through the entrepreneurship programme, the Silulo Foundation has empowered numerous individuals to transform their business ideas into reality, resulting in the growth and scaling of their existing ventures. These efforts have contributed significantly to the economic development of the Western Cape, with graduates launching and expanding diverse ventures, ranging from startups to community-based enterprises.

Prof. Michael Morris, a distinguished figure in entrepreneurship education, delivered valuable insights into the importance of entrepreneurial ecosystems and their role in driving economic development. Drawing from his experience as the founder of the Urban Poverty Initiative (UPBI) and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation at the Notre Dame Institute, Prof. Morris inspired and motivated the new cohort to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Minister Mireille Wenger expressed her honour in meeting entrepreneurs from townships and informal communities and commended organizations like the Silulo Foundation for their proactive efforts in supporting small and micro-enterprises through programs such as the entrepreneurship programme and network sessions. She also highlighted the Western Cape’s SMME Booster Fund, which allocated R 4.61 million in 2023 to further support the growth and success of these enterprises.

Luvuyo Rani, the founder of The Silulo Foundation, shared his excitement, noting that the first cohort consisted of 80% existing businesses and 20% start-ups. He emphasized “I’ve came to realise the importance of a community of support for local entrepreneurs and the value of the programme’s monthly forums, where entrepreneurs can share challenges, receive support, and be held accountable”. Rani also highlighted the opportunities that had already emerged for enrolled entrepreneurs through networking sessions, boot camps, and forums.

The launch event positioned the Silulo Foundation as a leading force in promoting economic development in the Western Cape through entrepreneurship. With the presence of Minister Wenger, Prof. Morris, Mr. Oliver from UWC, Ms. Wood from ABSA, Foundation Board Members, and a passionate group of entrepreneurs from both the first and second cohorts, this milestone event marks the beginning of a transformative journey for the second cohort and represents another significant step towards a prosperous future for the Western Cape.

In addition to the launch event, the Silulo Foundation is actively expanding its impact by forming partnerships with local businesses and organisations that share a common vision of driving economic development through entrepreneurship. These collaborations aim to create a robust support network for entrepreneurs and enhance the opportunities available to the Western Cape community.