Soweto Business Hub
Soweto Business Hub (SBH) serves as an extension of Lerato Educational Centre with the aim to support unemployed youths and small businesses. SBH is a project that is managed under the Lerato brand but funded separately through a funding model that includes start-up funding from Rainbow Children Trust (RBC), continuous fundraising activities and commercial income, mainly through rental and membership fees.
In 2016/2017 Lerato Educational Centre ran a successful learnership program for 15 young people. They received laptops, learning material and a year-long training program that included placement in various companies to give them practical job experience. Two similar training programs for more than 40 people were run in Soweto.
Challenges with the learnership groups led to the idea of creating a business centre:
- It was difficult to find suitable training facilities in Soweto.
- Learners who completed programmes found themselves in a situation where starting a business was virtually impossible (lack of affordable office space; no access to further training, mentoring, funding and networking).
- It also turned out that other NGOs and small community forums find it difficult to find suitable meeting spaces.
Soweto Business Hub addresses these challenges by offering a dynamic space where a community of young entrepreneurs and small business owners can prosper. It is envisaged that, once the Soweto Business Hub is financially secure, similar business centres based on the same funding model would be established in other townships or even rural areas with even higher poverty levels.