Using marketplace technology, SA Florist has launched a programme to on-board township florists through an ecosystem that has been established to assist entrepreneurs to launch sustainable businesses. It plans to attract, upskill and support at least 30 entrepreneurs over the next three years.
A four-month pilot project was launched in Soweto to empower independent florists that are owned by black-women and service the township area. From 16 applications, five were selected to participate in the programme.
SA Florist managing director Matt Surkont says this pilot project was aimed at mining these gems. “After detailed analysis of the existing 300 florists on our platform, we found an unacceptably small percentage were black-owned.”
The programme uses a two-pronged approach, combining training and peer-to-peer mentorship. The aim is simple, to play a pivotal role in using our technology to transform black townships into economic prosperity by creating market access.
“SA Florist has proved the case by bringing township florists into the economy and onto our technology marketplace through this pilot programme. We intend to expand this programme and transform the industry as a whole,” he adds.
The entrepreneurs attended five half-day training sessions at Khonology’s Academy focusing on the SA Florist technology, financial management, lean business canvas model and flower arrangement. They were paired with an established florist mentor already on the SA Florist technology platform and spent time learning how to optimise their business operations.
Khonology marketing manager Africa Nkosi says the Academy empowers entrepreneurs by providing fundamental knowledge of the core financial products and core technologies.
“The academy aims to provide a practical understanding of the day-to-day workings of specific markets, explain the application of the products within those markets and to explain the under-pinning technology to ensure the markets remain efficient,” he explains.
Owner of Mande Bloom in Soweto, Gertrude Mentoor, says this initiative is a great platform for florists to display their talent. “Receiving guidance through such a wonderful program, increases business opportunities and gives us the necessary exposure to become an established florist.”
Tshego Ratshidi, entrepreneur and owner of Bleu Rose, also aims to be a new age florist and use what she has learnt in the corporate industry to her advantage. “My personal goal is to grow in my craft and run by business like a well-oiled machine which will create sustainable jobs. To use every opportunity the business presents to connect with humanity through more community work than I am doing currently.”
“I think it is a great initiative and will definitely help a new florist by providing access to markets which is one of challenges faced by South African budding entrepreneurs,” she concludes.