Giant leaps forward: #DoMore4Hammarsdale Enterprise Development Project

In collaboration with public and private stakeholders, the DO MORE FOUNDATION seeks to catalyse real, sustained growth in the community’s food security. This is being done through a food gardens project which caters directly for the needs of the hungry in five wards of Hammarsdale, while also generating income with which to improve families’ standards of living. In parallel, we are running an enterprise development project with the same goal directed at youth – creating young entrepreneurs to aid in alleviating hunger and restoring hope.

The DO MORE FOUNDATION’s Enterprise Development initiative in Hammarsdale is beginning to gain momentum, providing marginalised and unemployed youth with the opportunity to gain skills and become entrepreneurs. To date, six enterprises have been established after attending the Hammarsdale Street Business School (another Foundation initiative), benefiting newly-established young entrepreneurs.

STORY 1: The Owethu Umqhele Cooperative Sewing Group

The Owethu Umqhele Cooperative Sewing Initiative is made up of a diverse group of youth from Hammarsdale, most of them previously unemployed. They were assisted in registering as a cooperative in order to access formal markets and other business opportunities, and were provided a start-up grant through the DO MORE FOUNDATION which they used to fund 10 industrial sewing machines, training, storage equipment and rental subsidy until December.

The business has since taken off with great speed, producing a range of handcrafted items including the iconic DoMoreBags, which are made using repurposed branding material and sold via the DO MORE FOUNDATION’s online shop and our own staff shops. The cooperative has also supplied bags to a chain of curio shops in China, provided bags for local and overseas conferences, and created 2 000 pencil case bags for RCL FOODS.

The impacts of COVID-19 have been felt by the Owethu Umqhele Cooperative Sewing Initiative who only opened up again in Level 3, however, the pandemic has had some positive impacts as it has forced the group to look into the diversification of products.  This has resulted in the introduction of new product lines like branded mask including sports mask as a fashion item, toiletry bags and cushion, whilst they continue with the standard DO MORE BAGS. 

Hammarsdale is returning to its origins, where it was the hub of clothing and textile. The training of unemployed youth women in sewing skills has had positive outcomes. A total of 45 candidates have been trained, with 100% conversion rate to formal employment in Hammarsdale.

STORY 2: The Moonlight Bakery Cooperative

Another success story is the five-member Moonlight Bakery Cooperative. Using funds provided by a local corporate via the DO MORE FOUNDATION, these young men and women have set up an industrial bakery which was soon supplying baked goods to a local petrol station, tuck shops, 37 ECD centres and the general public. Before the lockdown, the bakery was achieving average weekly sales of R5 000 and paying all its own overhead and running expenses, including renting premises. The business unfortunately had to close its doors during the lockdown, but the team continues to be mentored and hopes to restart soon.

Since the easing of lockdown regulations, the bakery team completed their additional technical bakery training and is in the process of getting a permit to sell at Keystone Park (large Industrial park in Hammarsdale). The bakery is aiming to expand to more ECD centres, supplying bread on a bi weekly basis. Watch this space!

The Enterprise Development initiative has been noticed by a number of non-profit organisations, corporates and government departments, to the
extent that it has been requested to document the models and processes unfolding in Hammarsdale as a pilot for rolling out similar partnership projects across the country.

Want to get involved or find out more?

Contact our team – Iris Naidoo (Iris.Naidoo@domore.org.za) or

Kathy Pitout (kathydomore@gmail.com)

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