The veterans hand in hand - with a human yield

Percy Barnevik and Dan Olofsson are initiating a cooperation in South Africa with the objective to combat poverty and youth unemployment. "Hand in Hand is my largest project and my last", comments Percy.

Percy initiated his work with Hand in Hand 14 years ago and is now Honorary Chairman with responsibility to create new alliances and partnerships. The cooperation with Star for Life is one out of many. 

Great synergies - "The role of Hand in Hand in this joint project is to provide entrepreneurship training to students who finalized their education in the schools that Star for Life are managing. The students have a basic education and will receive further training by Hand in Hand in subjects like business administration. In that way, the activities of Star for Life and Hand in Hand are complementing each other, comments Barnevik further.

"When our students are finalizing their Star for Life education - they are at risk of being unemployed. Instead, now they get further education and training from Hand in Hand. Our first objective of the project is to create 500 jobs", comments Dan Olofsson. 

"Our long-term goal is more substantial  - we have set an objective to create 500 000 jobs in Southern Africa says Percy.



Can spaza shops create real jobs?

8 April 2014, 17:00 

Ngoetsana Sehlalo, a 36-year-old informal trader from Orange Farm, started selling atchar outside her local shopping complex because she was unemployed. A few months later, customers asked her to add bread, polony and chips to the menu and that’s how her bunny chow business started. Today, she employs a woman from her community and also runs a successful spaza shop.

“For me, it wasn’t a matter of running a business. I was not working and my children had to eat,” said Sehlalo.

The informal sector is seen as one of the answers to South Africa’s gross unemployment, but many in the sector see their trade businesses as a short-term necessity rather than a business venture.
StatsSA’s latest employment figures show employment figures increased by 141 000 in the fourth quarter of last year. The increase was largely because of the 123 000 jobs created in the informal sector compared with the 64 000 jobs created in the formal sector.

Sazini Mojapelo, CEO of Hand in Hand (HIH), a nongovernmental organisation created to eliminate poverty in poor communities by focusing on income generation through capacity building and empowerment, said South Africans lacked “business acumen and an entrepreneurial culture”.

She added: “Most informal traders become entrepreneurs because of the need to survive so they venture into business on an ad-hoc basis, which is why 70% of small businesses fail within the first 18 months and 90% die in their first 10 years of existence.”

Mojapelo said her organisation realised the need for South Africans to have an alternative form of income generation, which is why HIH helped informal traders run successful enterprises in their communities.

“We offer traders practical on-the-job training, which includes basic bookkeeping, record-keeping and the separation of business income from personal income,” she said.

Sehlalo told City Press she never saw herself as an entrepreneur or even thought her bunny chow business could be profitable.

“I didn’t know what profits were or why I should keep receipts or keep track of stock. If my child asked for money, I would just give it to her from the business. I didn’t even think I could hire people.”

Herman Mashaba, who started as a trader in the 1980s and founded Black Like Me, said this problem was widespread.

“South Africans don’t have an entrepreneurial spirit; they don’t view their spaza shops as business ventures but rather as an interim measure before moving to something else.”

He said most South Africans started trading stores out of “necessity” and not because they saw their informal businesses as a way of making money or potentially creating jobs.

Mashaba said funding was not the main constraint to small businesses but rather structural issues such as the implementation of sectorial wages.

“Many small businesses go bust because owners can’t afford to pay their employees wages set by bargaining councils.”

He said he joined the Free Market Foundation to fight restrictive labour legislation and to teach young entrepreneurs how to run a successful small business.

“The trade and retail sectors are highly competitive industries. Traders need customer loyalty programmes and customer keeping programmes, we tend to not be client focused,” he said.

Mashaba added that South African traders failed in business because they lacked stamina.

“We [South Africans] want immediate results. Development takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight.”

Sehlalo may have initially had a short-term view of her business but, with the help of HIH, she now sees her bunny chow business as a potentially profitable one. She said she used to make R1 750 a week before she started working with HIH. She now makes a profit of about R3 600 a week. 

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Coca-Cola South Africa and UN Women partner to economically empower women

Johannesburg — Coca-Cola South Africa and UN Women today announced a partnership of a newly launched programme to promote the advancement and economic empowerment of women.

The collaboration aims to identify and address barriers women entrepreneurs are facing and provide women with business skills, leadership training, mentoring, peer networking skills and access to financial assets. This new programme is part of a broader partnership announced by The Coca-Cola Company and UN Women in 2011. The two organizations have pledged to reach more than 40,000 women in South Africa, Egypt and Brazil by the end of 2015. 

With the support of local partner Hand in Hand, the programme aims to train a total of 25,000 women entrepreneurs, many of whom are running small retail businesses within the Coca-Cola value chain.

“Partnerships are an important lever for sustainable development. Empowering women contributes to building sustainable communities. We know that a woman’s income immensely benefits not only them but also their children’s education and other family needs. Empowering women entrepreneurs will benefit communities and future generations”, said Sadiq Syed, Deputy Representative and Officer-in-Charge, UN Women South Africa.

To date, approximately 4,500 women entrepreneurs in the Gauteng and North West province have received training in business skills such as daily record keeping, marketing and budgeting. The entrepreneurs also learned how to develop business plans and understand markets.

Initial results indicate the training programmes have already begun to stimulate business growth, and many participants are now able make better-informed decisions about their business, which can positively impact their families and communities.

One participant, 51-year-old Maphefo Ntshupetsang, supports herself and her five children by selling cold drinks, vegetables and snacks. The training has enabled her to separate business finances from personal finances, allowing her to budget for stock as well as save on a monthly basis. “Since joining the programme, I have managed to save money by buying in bulk. I now know that doing things alone in business does not pay. By interacting with other people you get new ideas,” she said.

Another participant, Ngoetsana Sehlabo, a 36-year-old mother, attributes her ability to keep records to the training. She is now able to analyse when she is making profits or losses. She has learned the need to separate personal and business expenditures and minimize both expenditures in order to save and reinvest in expanding her business.

The above emerging results are a testament that the partnership is contributing to the empowerment of women and communities at large.

“As a result of our partnership, we expect women participating in these programmes will have greater ability to establish and grow their businesses, increase their earnings and create new jobs in their communities. Their success will set an example for other women and create a virtuous cycle of re-investment in their families and communities,’’ said Vukani Magubane, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola South Africa. Ms. Magubane concludes that “empowering women, one woman at a time, is the right thing to do for the sustainability of our communities.”

This new programme in South Africa is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s global 5by20 initiative, which aims to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. Specifically, that means the small businesses the company works in over 200 countries around the world. From fruit farmers to artisans, this initiative aims to help women overcome the barriers they face to business success. At the end of 2012, nearly 300,000 women entrepreneurs throughout the world had been impacted by 5by20.

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