Press releases

Call for social entrepreneurs to apply for the 2021/22 Barloworld Mbewu intake

14 April 2021

Social entrepreneurs are invited to submit their entries for consideration for incubation to the second leg of a Barloworld flagship entrepreneurial programme known as Mbewu. The entries for the 2021/2022 programme open on 12 April and close on 14 May 2021.

Mbewu was launched by Barloworld in 2019 to provide support to social enterprises and start-ups that work innovatively to solve challenges in society through their entrepreneurial activities. The programme seeks to drive economic sustainability, transformation and growth through development, funding and facilitating access to markets for small and medium sized enterprises.

A social entrepreneur is a person who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a social and/or economic challenge. Social enterprises that will be considered for incubation in the Mbewu programme are technology start-ups and those that are active in agriculture (including agro-processing), industrial services, the green economy, the creative industry and social innovation.

The finalists who will be incubated into the Mbewu programme will join the ranks of past social entrepreneurs who are already blazing a trail in their respective industries. Successful candidates incubated into the Mbewu programme will receive mentorship, funding to scale up their operations and access to markets.

Enterprises that are eligible to apply for this prestigious incubation programme must meet the following requirements:

  • The organisations should be run by South African citizens; and
  • Be operational for more than one year;
  • Preference will be given to organisations that are active in marginalised and previously disadvantaged communities; and
  • Organisations active in the education, automotive value chain, agro-processing, agriculture, green economy or ground-breaking social innovation/technology that addresses local challenges.

"Since we launched the Mbewu programme three years ago, we have been encouraged by the zeal and enthusiasm that South Africans have demonstrated in developing innovative solutions that address socio-economic challenges in a sustainable manner. Through the Mbewu platform, we seek to unlock the potential of this growing sector of the economy and give promising start-ups in various fields the ability to scale up and blossom to their full potential.

Barloworld is acutely aware of the challenges facing South Africa, and how the outbreak of Covid-19 has exacerbated the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Mbewu represents a tangible intervention that Barloworld has put in place to use the transformative power of social entrepreneurship to be a catalyst of positive social change.

We firmly believe that the private sector has an important role to play in helping social entrepreneurs to overcome the common barriers such as lack of financing solutions, human capital and a lack of information and networks. Through Mbewu, we believe that we can contribute positive to the growth of entrepreneurship with a social conscience and support a rare breed of men and women to foster positive change in a profitable and sustainable manner," says Noluvo Vovo Ngcwabe, Head of Corporate Social Investment at Barloworld.

Eligible social entrepreneurs are invited to apply on

"Over the past three years we have been impressed by the quality of the entries we have received for induction into the Mbewu programme, which is indicative of the high level of social entrepreneurship in South Africa. With the level of innovation that has been a surprising but welcome by-product of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are confident that the quality of the entries we will receive this year will blow our socks off. We are pleased that we could utilise our platforms and the power of our brand to contribute to economic growth and foster positive social change," Ngcwabe concludes.