The Ford Motor Company Fund is awarding the first grants from the Booth Schoch Future Success Fund to budding entrepreneurs at the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre (FREC) in South Africa.
The winners are all FREC programme graduates who will share $10 000 in grants to advance their businesses.
They have completed the Entrepreneurship Programme to start in-home businesses, or were in the Early Childhood Development training and certification programme to establish after-school care centres.
“We’re inspired by the drive and dedication shown by students in these FREC programmes as they carve out a more prosperous future for themselves and the community,” says Ford Fund global development manager Benna Deese. “Our community empowerment initiatives can really make a difference toward making people’s lives better.”
The grant programme is named in honour of former Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa executives Lewis Booth and Dave Schoch, who were enthusiastic champions of the local Mamelodi Township community.
The programme is endowed for ten years with $100 000 and $10 000 awarded each year to deserving FREC students.
Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, works with South African partner nonprofit organisation, Future Families, in managing the programme. The three grant awardees this year are:
Mabel Mabaso, a student at the FREC who is completing the Early Childhood Development course. Her business, Little Cherubim Ark, was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently under the mentorship of the resource centre. Ford is assisting Mabaso in developing strategies to expand her business.
Ashley Mokwena established bin cleaning company Kasi Hygiene. Mokwena sought training and ideas for business growth at the FREC, where the technical department designed and constructed a washing cart that reduces water use. Since then the number of clients has doubled.
Joanna Shongwane started her upholstery business under the FREC’s mentorship programme. She developed a sustainable business plan, secured funding and equipment, and learned marketing tactics. The result has been more customers, more work and more profits.
“There are many talented people in the community who have an existing business or an idea, but they don’t necessarily have the financial and business skills that would allow them to grow their business further,” says FREC South Africa director Robin Learmonth. “We aim to help them achieve better financial independence and business viability, and we are extremely proud of what our graduates have achieved.”
The Ford Resource and Engagement Centre in South Africa was first established by Ford Motor Company Fund in 2016.
To date, 326 people have been trained across various courses, with 70% being women.
Entrepreneurship graduates are encouraged to launch their own small enterprises, thus creating further employment opportunities in their communities.