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Woolworths celebrates Youth Month with R2 million investment in young entrepreneurs!

| Social Responsibility

In celebration of Youth Month, Woolworths launched its Youth Makers competition last year to help young entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

Hundreds of hopeful young small business owners entered the competition and just thirty finalists were flown to Joburg to pitch their businesses. Fifteen winners were selected for the exclusive opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field. Each winner receives one-year mentorship from Woolies experts to support them to build sound foundations for the retail world, exclusive insider information on how retail works in South Africa, the opportunity to market to Woolworths customers, and a R130 000 grant to grow their brands.

This year, Woolworths kicks off Youth Month by unveiling the 15 winning, youth-owned, small businesses. Meet the 2024 Youth Makers competition winners:

  • Balini Naidoo Engelbrecht, founder of Balini ™ Braille Clothing, designs beautiful clothing to help visually impaired people choose fashion they like.
  • Helen-Jean Stubbs and Sim Cele created Enzo’s Mighty Bites, winning the judges over with their desire to create nutritious snacks for busy little ones.
  •     Isabel Bothma established Isa B Jewellery Designs; home to unique, bold and beautiful jewellery pieces.
  •     Kabelo Moraloki Arts pty Ltd features artwork on mugs, t-shirts and tote bags by the brand’s namesake, Kabelo Moraloki.
  • Award winning Khaya Burwana has made a name for himself in the agricultural sector along with his business, Agrikey Farming.
  • Makomborero Mutezo spent years researching and sourcing the best ingredients to make his brownies, and his business, The Hungry  Mute, a success.
  • Michael Ludwig Hittinger celebrates gender expression and inclusivity through their cutting-edge fashion brand - Michael Ludwig  Studios.
  •     Brother and sister duo, Neo Dulaze and Katleho Mchalla, created lifestyle brand Berry Homeware to harness their creativity with art, décor and home scenting.
  • Hlubi Hewu opened her store, Planned Gifts, to curate special gifts for every occasion.
  • Nompumelelo Nhlapo is the force behind Gadat House, an innovative and inspiring fashion house rooted in sustainability and intentionality.
  • Sibusiso Mokhachane’s SOULART FOUNDATION produces recycled and upcycled luggage, textiles and clothing with a vision to “use what you have, where you are”.
  •     Subtle-T Designs was created by crochet genius, Tenele Zwane. Each of her pieces is made to order, taking hours of dedication and craftmanship.
  •   Tshegofatso Ramothibe and Oageng Manana are the proud founders of Meetlo by CityBirds, home to incredible furniture designed with a modern, African twist.
  • Unathi Mgolombane and her sustainable brand, doba.upcycle, boast colourful designs that start conversations around recycling while brightening up every outfit.
  • Tendalo Trading is home to ethically sourced bags made from recycled and upcycled rubber tubes, all thanks to owner, Xolile Mabuza.

Woolworths customers in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban will be able to shop some of the Youth Makers brands in store over the coming months and meet the founders at Woolies in June, July and August at the following locations:

Cape Town: From 24 June to 5 July at Woolworths V&A Waterfront, customers will be able to shop a range of the winner’s products in store. Meet the winners in-person on Saturday 29 June and Sunday 30 June where they’ll be showcasing their brands.

Johannesburg: Visit Woolworths Sandton City between 22 July and 2 August to shop the winning brands, and on Saturday and Sunday (27 and 28 July) to meet the founders.

Durban: Woolworths Gateway will host the winners’ brands and products from 19 August to 30 August. On Saturday and Sunday (24 and 25 August) the Youth Makers will be in store alongside their range. 

The Woolworths Youth Makers competition forms part of the business’s Inclusive Justice Initiative; a commitment to inspire inclusive growth by taking action against discrimination and marginalisation, and promoting inclusion and empowerment of all. Understanding that the youth hold the key to South Africa’s future, Woolworths aims to empower and uplift small youth-owned businesses and improve the socio-economic reality of our youth – a vital step towards building an inclusive future for all.

Find out more about the Woolworths Youth Makers winners and the competition here: www.woolworths.co.za/youthmakers

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