Small Business opportunities sprout with Trees
June 19, 2012
Who would have thought a tree would be the link to small business potential and communication?
In April 2012, 2 groups of Wildlands’ tree-preneurs from Khula and Kwajobe, in Kwazulu-Natal, received a “business in a box.” This box contained – a starter kit from Jabba Mobile, inclusive of a cellular phone, vendors bib, cap, bag, R200 airtime and 100 starter packs, to enable these community members to start selling airtime and pre-paid electricity from their new cell phones. However, what makes this micro-enterprise initiative so special, is that these 24 community members paid for these Jabba Starter Kits with trees!
Through the Integrated Greening Programme, a partnership between the Provincial Government of Kwazulu-Natal, the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Business SA, community members in several communities across SA are able to grow indigenous trees at their homesteads or collect recyclable waste in exchange for a range of basic goods, including food, educational support and building materials – with JABBA starter kits & air time being the latest addition to this list. The first Jabba starter kit distribution through a Wildlands project was piloted in September 2011 with a group of Wildlands tree-preneurs in eSikhawini, near Richards Bay.
Jabba Mobile is the brand behind venture catalyst company ‘LikeMinds’ Pty Ltd, founded in June 2010 by Craig Ireland and Roger Gerrish. The objective of ‘LikeMinds’ is to create a prepaid distribution network selling prepaid products and services through community-based sales and marketing channels, and win-win partnerships. ‘LikeMinds’ are intent on enabling communities to generate sustainable forms of income, an objective shared with Wildlands, making a partnership between ‘LikeMinds’ and Wildlands a natural fit. There is a great need to distribute airtime and electricity in underserviced communities that are far from major towns and cities. By enabling respected members of the local community to become field agents for airtime and electricity, not only are small businesses being established, but community members are being spared public transport costs to the nearest town to buy such pre-paid products.
There are a number of ways in which Jabba field agents benefit. For every starter pack sold that is activated and used, the agent earns R10, and a profit of 5% & 1% respectively is earned on all airtime & electricity sales. Profit generated is paid directly back to the agent’s “virtual wallet” on their phone, which acts like an electronic float and enables them to sell more airtime and electricity. A field agent can top up their float by making a deposit at an ABSA bank, and will soon include PEP stores. The value of the ‘LikeMinds’-Wildlands partnership is that buying the starter kit (valued at R800) using trees or recyclable waste is a lot easier for these rural community members, than having to find the cash.
“After the day of Jabba Mobile training, provided by ‘LikeMinds’, Wildlands provides the field agents with another day of basic business skills training, thanks to the Enterprise Development funding support provided by The Foschini Group (TFG),” commented Training and Capacity Building Manager Susan Viljoen of Wildlands. “Equipping community members with knowledge on topics such as record keeping, calculating profit, marketing and customer care is essential for ensuring they make a success of their new business. We must thank ‘LikeMinds’ and TFG for their contribution and support – the knowledge and business sense that you are instilling in communities around the country is truly priceless.” For more information on how to become a Jabba Mobile agent, contact Roger Gerrish (083 3260313) or Nick Mosikidi (071 073 8585) or visit www.likeminds.co.za.Go back