Absa and Experian SA collaborate with NGO Rhiza Babuyile to help skill the youth of Orange Farm for a better tomorrow.

Rhiza Babuyile, Absa and Experian SA have officially opened the Buzz Hub business support and skills development centre in Orange Farm, Gauteng.

The hub is the second one for Rhiza Babuyile – the first was opened in Diepsloot a year ago – and will provide the community with business training, support, mentoring and coaching, open workspaces, networking events and access to possible funding. It aims to assist aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as people who have existing businesses and/or want to improve their skills and knowledge.

The centre was jointly opened by representatives from Rhiza Babuyile, Absa, Experian SA and the Dutch embassy.

“Orange Farm is in a remote location and few investors are willing to create opportunities in this area,” explains Alef Meulenberg, chairman of Rhiza Babuyile.

“Typical community skills development initiatives often lack the sustainability to make a long-term impact. In the past year, our first enterprise development centre in Diepsloot has assisted eight entrepreneurs, including a few cooperatives, to successfully launch their own businesses. It has also offered training workshops for local business owners, together helping more than 100 individuals. Realising the demand and need for these services, we decided to duplicate this model at Orange Farm where we already have a skills development centre.
Technology infrastructure

“The Buzz Hub therefore offers a range of services and facilities, including an open-plan fully equipped office environment with desks, computer equipment and boardroom space, as well as high-speed internet connectivity. It also includes a call centre that could ultimately provide call centre services for local businesses, as well as call centre training for job seekers.”

Meulenberg explains that while the Dutch embassy provides funding to Rhiza Babuyile, Absa has provided all the technology infrastructure and connectivity. Experian provides funding as well as career counselling and basic credit and financial education.

“In addition to bridging the income and poverty gap within the previously disadvantaged community, this project is a perfect example of a successful public-private partnership where international public organisations partner with local corporates in order to bring about change to the lives of local communities,” says Meulenberg.

Ashley Veasey, chief information officer for Barclays Africa Group Limited, points out that providing access to technology infrastructure and skills plays a critical role in developing people across the continent, and that by partnering with communities, start-ups and business stakeholders, the organisation aims to create shared growth within the Orange Farm community.

Empowering entrepreneurs

“We are not only investing in a great idea that we believe will empower and equip this community,” he says, “but we are also investing in our future by developing the business owners and leaders of tomorrow.”

Mark Wells, Acting Managing Director of Experian South Africa, adds that Experian is extremely pleased to be a partner of the Orange Farm Buzz Hub.

“We view this community-led initiative as a positive step for empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their businesses, and to make smart decisions. We are confident that the support provided here will establish a solid foundation for the business leaders of today to build a better tomorrow for the future.”

Rashuping Morake, chief operations officer at Rhiza-Babuyile, describes the Buzz Hub as a life-changing opportunity. “This is an opportunity for the people that are generally overlooked, underestimated and undermined, in a community filled with people who have the potential of becoming the next Motsepes of our generation.”