Entrepreneurship is a big deal in South Africa and, in 2017, the country was named in a global report as one of sub-Saharan Africa’s entrepreneurial frontrunners. Encouraging individuals to set up their own businesses when they identify an opportunity can be a vital tool in addressing poverty and boosting employment and social empowerment.
That’s why supporting entrepreneurship and skills development — particularly in young people — is a key aim of South African hotel and entertainment group, Tsogo Sun. The group’s whole ethos is founded on the aim to bring meaningful and measurable change into people’s lives, and to create sustainable economic independence and growth.
The power of Ubuntu
Its initiative, Tsogo Sun Citizenship, gives the group and its individual staff members the opportunity to contribute to their communities across the country — particularly where real need has been identified.
This can be done by leveraging skills, experience, and its geographic presence to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions — and by developing, implementing, and supporting relevant initiatives.
There are three divisions of Tsogo Sun Citizenship: one focusing on community development, one on entrepreneur development, and one on environmental education. Together, the branches drive the group’s citizenship work, allowing for maximum benefit for the community.
Among just some of the initiatives are: a chess programme that reaches thousands of primary school children and hundreds of teachers; career guidance and development, and preparation for employment, for high-school learners; sports development and sponsorship; maths, science, and technology centres for local schools, youth, and educators; collections books and gifts for children; green-thinking and environmental education and initiatives, and entrepreneur development and support.
To make sure that its programmes achieve a significant depth of impact, Tsogo Sun partners with and supports organisations, charities NGOs, and community projects across South Africa that have a proven track record.
Among its partner organisations are SOS Children’s Villages, which supports vulnerable children and fragmented families; Reach for a Dream, which makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses; Mellon Educate, which upgrades and improves education facilities; and the Cancer Association of South Africa, which provides care and support to people affected by cancer.
It also works to support shelters for women and people who are homeless; homes for the elderly; organisations and homes for people with disabilities; disaster management assistance; feeding schemes; and animal welfare.
The power of community
Absolutely central to achieving this work is the staff volunteer programme — which focuses on sustainably alleviating development challenges faced by the communities within which the group works.
Every year, for example, staff members volunteer together on Mandela Day, to honour his legacy and continue his work. Children are among the main beneficiaries of the volunteer work — which includes helping carrying out maintenance, gardening, and improvements at creches, schools, daycare centres, and children’s homes.
Blankets are knitted, and items like baby clothing and toiletries, playground equipment and toys, stationary, and books for libraries, are donated.
It has been 13 years since the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme took its first brave and hopeful steps, with a handful of guesthouses in Soweto. Over the years it has steadily evolved to meet the changing needs of today’s entrepreneurial landscape — and takes its responsibility towards contributing to economic growth very seriously.
Its Entrepreneurs programme consistently focusses on skills-based development, and on providing opportunities for predominantly black-owned small businesses. The programme currently supports over 240 up-and-coming enterprises — and of these, 80% are South African women.
It’s no secret that the world is facing some pressing environmental issues — and time is running out for us to make significant change. It means that every person needs to take steps to reduce humanity’s damaging impact — and Tsogo Sun is working to help raise awareness and educate members of the public and other stakeholders on how to embrace green living.
Sharing understanding, knowledge, and the commitment to make a difference with its stakeholders — including 12,800 full-time employees, guests, and the communities around each of its properties is a priority for the group.
Meanwhile practically, attention is given at every Tsogo Sun property to energy-saving measures, including water-saving shower heads and LED lights; to careful waste management, with the long-term aim of achieving “zero waste to landfill.”
Tsogo Sun also has accommodation and venue partnership agreements with Miss Earth South Africa and its sibling organisation, Generation Earth. Miss Earth SA is a leadership programme that annually empowers about 40 young South African women “ambassadors” with knowledge and a platform to make a sustainable difference in combating the destruction of the natural world.
The Global Goals call on individuals, leaders and corporates to work together to end poverty and other socio-economic challenges. Tsogo Sun is working to do this by unlocking the potential of young people, entrepreneurs, and committed South Africans in general.