The Red Bull Amaphiko Academy has selected 16 bright social entrepreneurs and given them wings to fly their businesses to another level.
The academy, established in 2014, grew out of Red Bull’s ongoing mission to identify and develop talented people and to help them achieve their full potential.
In the past, the company had focused on athletes, musicians and dancers. As a natural extension of this mission, Amaphiko which means ‘wings’ in Zulu was launched to support grassroots social entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in their communities and to inspire a broad audience to do the same.
The academy’s programme was designed to provide inspiration, mentorship, practical skills and tools the social entrepreneurs need to take themselves and their businesses to the next level. It includes development programmes such as lectures and workshops, digital know-how and resources.
It also connects its participants to a supportive worldwide community of like-minded individuals willing to contribute their skills, resources and time. In just three years, the academy has become a global programme and has spread its wings into Brazil and the USA.
Sifiso Gcabashe of Red Bull said they were not a saviour of all the problems that entrepreneurs experience but were a platform that tries to leverage entrepreneurs to excel in what they do.
Most of the social entrepreneurs have businesses that help solve issues that afflict their communities. One such entrepreneur is Neo Hutiri (22) from Cape Town who, with his company, Technovera, has developed an automated system that dramatically reduces the time patients spend waiting to collect chronic medication.
Another, Johannesburg’s Nhlanhla Ndlovu (34), has established Hustlenomics, a company that works with shack dwellers to convert their homes into proper, safe structures, improving safety and creating employment through an affordable financial model.