— APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED —
Following on from the unprecedented success of the 2021 Seeds of Change Supplier Development Partnership, Food Lover’s Market has opened applications for the second consecutive year to allow aspiring social entrepreneurs to join the company as a supplier.
Food Lover’s Market, South Africa’s leading fresh produce retailer, launched Seeds Of Change in 2021 with great success. Although the retailer received close to 900 applications, the winner was announced after a thorough selection process that included a two-day webinar, assignments, a week-long boot camp for the top 10 social enterprises and a final pitching event to senior buyers and executives.
The Village Market Africa (TVMA), a social enterprise established to address the decreasing bee populations, successfully pitched to claim the coveted top spot. TVMA aims to combat rural poverty through establishing bee initiatives in remote African villages – linking conservation of natural resources, rural producer initiatives and markets.
Says Travis Coppin, CEO of Food Lover’s Market’s Retail Division: “We are thrilled to be launching Seeds of Change for the second year running as we are very proud of the tremendous success of last year’s programme. It is a pleasure to see The Village Market Africa’s Noju Honey on our shelves, along with Chuck Chilli and Loxtonia Cider – suppliers who were all in the top ten and impressed us with their pitch, their product and their social impact.”
“We are honoured to have been able to partner with these remarkable businesses and see the social impact they make in the communities they serve. It speaks directly to the core values of Food Lover’s Market, and their dedication to social impact, quality and innovation are critical to achieving a more sustainable economy. I am so proud to be part of their world and being able to support these enterprises through the Seeds of Change Supplier Development Partnership.”
Supplier Development Partnerships addresses unemployment in tough times.
Unemployment in South Africa stood at 28.5% in September 2020. In August of 2021, the unemployment rates had risen to 34.4% – undoubtedly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Says Andrew Millson, Head of HR and Sustainability at Food Lover’s Market, “At Food Lover’s Market, we are deeply passionate about our communities and our environment, and Seeds of Change is a natural extension of this. We believe that this is an opportunity to create employment and make a critical social impact in communities across South Africa. We are looking for suppliers that mirror these values and are socially and environmentally focused, are passionate about retail and are motivated to deliver the best quality product or service.”
As an emerging sector, social enterprises provide an opportunity to solve many of the prevalent social and environmental problems in South Africa while contributing to economic growth and job creation. Unfortunately, this sector is still not prioritised as a key driver in the South African economy. Food Lover’s Market aims to challenge this mindset by presenting a unique opportunity for social enterprises to become part of the corporate supply chain.
Millson continues, “Often, small businesses do not have access to the supplier networks and marketing tools to grow their business. We aim to provide the opportunity and the means for small suppliers to get the tools and training they need to be successful and operate their business as a sustainable supplier to the retail market – while making meaningful, sustainable and long lasting social and environmental impact in our country.”
Call for applications
Interested businesses can apply online – applications open on 07 February 2022 and close on 14 March 2022. Once applications close, the top twenty will be selected and will attend a two-day workshop on 8 and 9 April 2022, which will give them a taste of the retail experience and what will be required to become part of the supplier network.
The top ten will be announced on 19 April 2022 and will attend a four-day Bootcamp between 9 and 12 May 2022. In this Bootcamp, they will receive the guidance, mentorship and necessary skills to market their business. They will also be exposed to a macro view of the global and South African retail landscape – including trends, challenges and opportunities within the sector. The top ten businesses will then do a final “Fertile Ground” pitch to the Food Lover’s Market board on 13 May 2022 – the successful applicant will be announced on the same day.
Seeds of Change will be facilitated by the Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), who are the foremost specialist learning and development organisation supporting social change organisations in South Africa. With a proven track record globally, SEA has extensive experience of social enterprise models from South Africa and around the world.
Food Lover’s Market is interested in social enterprises that fit into the fresh produce and food retail environments. The retailer intends to prioritise applications from businesses that will add value to the Food Lover’s Market shopping experience. These include smallholder farmers, freight businesses, commercial services, and produce and products that sit within in-store departments such as bakery, confectionery, groceries and liquor.
Some of the requirements to apply include:
- The business should be operational for 12 months.
- The business should show financial stability.
- The business should have a business Plan showcasing successful implementation.
Concludes Millson, “We are excited to see what the 2022 call for applications will bring. Last year we uncovered a few social enterprise gems, and we believe this year will be no different. Anyone who owns a business with social impact in the communities they serve, and a retail product suitable to be sold at a Food Lover’s Market, should consider entering.
Applications close on 14 March 2022.
Celebrate our Seeds Of Change Winner and Finalists of 2021
Winner: Local Honey, from The Village Market.
The Village Market aims to promote and support a holistic view of a lifestyle that is convenient, sustainable and empowers rural communities. Village Market Africa was founded by two social entrepreneurs, as a bee farming initiative focused on creating and finding a conducive environment for bees to thrive.”We believe in a harmonies working relationship between bees and rural communities/villages. Considering the global threat to bees, we wanted to create spaces that will allow both to thrive. We do this by identifying and training villages in sustainable beekeeping and nature conservation and aid them with setting up beekeeping initiatives. In doing this we are creating a whole new sustainable supply base for honey and organic produce that we secure through our buy-back policy. The result of this is that TVMA can offer our partners and customers quality products that are helping create a brighter future for Africa.”
The aims of these operations are to: