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The SAP South Africa Social Sabbatical team had an incredible opportunity to experience first-hand how the enke team is inspiring young South Africans to take action in their communities.  As part of enke's 2013 Ignition program, the “Social Innovation” challenge tasks young participants to design a project that takes innovative approaches in solving a social issue they feel most passionate about within their communities.  The participants of the challenge had to ensure the project was feasible, innovative and most importantly sustainable.   After a rigorous selection process by the enke team, two winners were selected:  “Green Thinkers” from Johannesburg and “Ponte – Bridging the Gap” from Cape Town.   Both teams were awarded R5,000 to bring their social innovation concepts to life and are mentored through various workshops/trainings and progress is monitored through ongoing interaction back to enke.  Friday, was the first workshop hosted at the enke offices.

In this workshop, the winners from the Social Innovation Challenge; Charmine from “PONTE – Bridging the gap” and Theodre from “Green Thinkers” joined the enke team, their supporters (Emzingo) and the SAP Social Sabbatical team to take a deep dive into their winning projects and define tangible next steps to get their projects off the ground.  The winners defined key challenges they face in taking the leap from “concept” to “implementation” which sparked a lively discussion from refining mission statements, defining short-term/long-term objectives, developing timelines and expansion strategies, managing strategic partnership and legal requirement to creating revenue/expense models.  A key area of discussion focused on long-term sustainability and gradual expansion plans.  Both aspiring social entrepreneurs were cognizant of creating an enterprise that would sustain long-term growth and scale appropriately to continue their mission. Throughout this day-long workshop, I felt the the winners excitement, their comfort in articulating their fears of becoming social entrepreneurs and their confidence in overcoming any barriers in their way.

In a society where there is distinct disparity in income, education, race and gender both winners aspire to do their part in bridging this gap.  This is where enke: Make Your Mark’s sweet spot is … connect, equip, and inspire young people to be that change. 

Learn more:, @enkeMYM, @shahziabk, @singhrohit2001, @mbtigua, @pyxeraglobal

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