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Category: ENTREPRENEURSHIP, The Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneurship takes a bite out of the dining industry
Written by Tendai Tambudze
24 September 2012

The face of entrepreneurship is well defined in South Africa. Successful business icons have shown the kind of vision, resilience and hard work that is required to start a business and make millions. Recently, the spotlight has been on a growing breed of entrepreneur – the one with a social agenda; more commonly known as a social entrepreneur.

What is a social entrepreneur?

A social entrepreneur is defined as someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change.  What differentiates social entrepreneurship from other social and entrepreneurial initiatives? While many entrepreneurs make meaningful contributions to communities and initiatives that bring about social change, the social entrepreneur models his business to make the social agenda their sole aim. Many social ventures fall under the umbrella of the “not-for-profit” organisations which use their surplus revenue to achieve its goals, rather than distribute the money among shareholders as is the case in other business models.

Young South Africans take action

The nation has its share of social entrepreneurs making an impact on the nation and young South Africans have take action to produce the change they want to see in their communities. Dining for Good is an initiative that was launched with the goal of making a positive contribution to those who require financial assistance. Founded by Victor Kgomoeswana, the organisation is rooted in a selfless idea that has grown to become a widely supported initiative. Kgomoeswana hosted a birthday party for his friend, Joshua Rashopola who had been paralyzed in a car crash. The dinner raised R15 000 which was later used to establish the Joshua Rashopola Trust.

Kgomoeswana then used his own birthday to fundraise in 2012, netting R50 000 in the process. This saw the official launch and subsequent registration of the Dining for Good Trust with Ntoshane Mohlamonyane, Ndumiso Sithole and Amos Hlabioa coming aboard as co-founding trustees.

Dining for Good: The business model

The organisation encourages patrons and sponsors to raise funds by inviting the guests who come to their birthday parties, anniversaries, or get-together to contribute to charity instead. The celebrant foregoes personal gifts in favour of those who are really in need.  The Dining for Good team includes accountants, IT professionals and event planners who all volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that the events are profitable and well organised. Each event undergoes a thorough planning, costing and budgeting analysis before it is implemented.

This year has been a year of growth and establishment for the organisation.  Mohlamonyane who emphatically describes himself as a social entrepreneur has rallied supporters of Dining for Good to collect blankets for Persevere Until Something Happens (PUSH), which feeds and supports more than 300 children a day. “I see myself as someone whose mission in life is to impact people’s lives positively and to change lives,” he says.  He has also converted his month-end drinks with friends into an effective fundraising platform by implementing a “cover charge.”

These are just some of the small ways the patrons of Dining for Good are turning charity into a lifestyle and the idea is becoming increasingly popular among Joburg’s young and socially conscious. Realising that there are many like-minded people, Dining for Good provides a platform for anyone to identify a charity of their choice and raise funds for it. Patrons have been lining up to effectively donate their birthdays for charities and a recent birthday celebration saw Dining for Good put on its biggest event.

A night with the Stars

That event took the form of a gala dinner, hosted by Dining for Good in August this year. The team added a touch of elegance and class to a fundraiser called “A night with the Stars.” The evening saw familiar South African Celebrities like Hlomla Dandala, Zikhona Sodlaka, Tango Ncetezo and Joanne Reynecke come out in the name of charity.  Patrons paid R500 per person and corporate tables went for R10 000. The night saw the 170 guests treated to a musical performance from Sons of Xoul, Selaelo Selota and Relo. Loysiso Gola then had everyone in stitches with his characteristically irreverent humour.

It was a success on all fronts and after expenses Dining for Good was able to pay its beneficiaries, (The Joshua Rashopola Trust and the Kathorus Child and Family Organisation)  R30 000 each. Money also went to Bubu Mazibuko's dream to take her acting career to Hollywood.

Dining for Good’s approach is a far cry from conventional fundraising strategies.  “Every Bite counts,” is their motto, and this young team is doing their part to address South Africa’s social problems in an innovative and entrepreneurial way.  The team has a vision to take the organisation to greater heights.  As Mohlamonyane puts it:  “We are in the business of impacting and changing lives,” - a much needed attitude if South Africa is going to see real social change.

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