J&B encourages South Africans to support local entrepreneurship

J&B has been accelerating local business since 2015 through the J&B Hive

J&B HIve entrepreneurs: Sthe Mpehle, Nondumiso Nkosi and Lethabo Mokoena
J&B HIve entrepreneurs: Sthe Mpehle, Nondumiso Nkosi and Lethabo Mokoena
Image: Supplid/J&B Hive

Local small businesses contribute positively to the growth of the country’s economy, yet only three out of 10 have a chance to survive. To address this challenge, J&B is encouraging consumers, communities and large enterprises to take active steps to support small businesses.

In October 2019, Stats SA announced that the unemployment rate in SA was at 29.1%, the highest it has ever been since comparable data began in 2008, and yet small businesses are said to be the engine that will stimulate job creation.

J&B in association with the J&B Hive took a stand during Global Entrepreneurship Week, encouraging South Africans to play their part and support small businesses by procuring locally.

The pledge was part of an art installation that highlighted the contrast between business that succeed (30%) and those that fail (70%). Mannequins were used — some standing upright and the majority lying on the ground — to illustrate the point.

Located in Braamfontein, the J&B Hive sponsored by J&B is an innovative, collaborative space that is both a creative and small business hub that acts as an accelerator for creative entrepreneurs. The space aims to disrupt the status quo with the goal of seeing young creative businesses thrive and contribute to changing the economic trajectory of the country.

“The J&B Hive has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a creative nerve centre within Braamfontein, where upcoming creative entrepreneurs are incubated in a space that encourages their creativity. The activity during Global Entrepreneur Week reinforced the many strides made by J&B in collaboration with the J&B Hive where creative entrepreneurs are concerned,” says Nana Akua Twerefoo, J&B Whisky senior brand manager.  

J&B has been proudly accelerating local business since 2015 through the J&B Hive. J&B is so committed to elevating local businesses that the brand has given its advertising space to entrepreneurs to shine a spotlight on their businesses.

J&B Hive is home to creative entrepreneurs such as Sthe Mpehle who is the head of an animation studio Dipopaai; Lethabo Mokoena, founder of Walk Fresh, which is a sneaker cleaning company; and Nondumiso Nkosi who created the revolutionary headpiece company Bedoo.

Read more about the entrepreneurs below:

I’ve been with the J&B Hive since 2016 and they’re like my family. I’ve learnt a lot, but the lesson that stands out for me has to be collaboration
Lethabo Mokoena

Lethabo Mokoena, founder of dynamic shoe cleaning company Walk Fresh, is on a mission to shift the township narrative and provide opportunities, support and inspiration for local communities through his successful business.

With the flagship store in Daveyton now firmly established, along with multiple partnerships for drop-off and collection points across the city, Mokoena has now opened a second outlet in Soweto.

In addition to the recent monthly shoe-cleaning enterprise he has initiated for international alcohol brand Diageo, Walk Fresh has establishing a mobile unit equipped to provide shoe-cleaning services at various events throughout Johannesburg. Walk Fresh has also recently collaborated with activewear brand Sports Scene on a pop-up apparel container in its new Sandton store.

Walking away from Gauteng Premier’s Youth Excellence and Service Awards with a fresh Business and Entrepreneurship accolade, the award-winning entrepreneur has the J&B Hive to thank, sharing with S Mag in an exclusive interview for its “Heritage Month” September issue:

“I’ve been with the J&B Hive since 2016 and they’re like my family. I’ve learnt a lot, but the lesson that stands out for me has to be collaboration. Since everyone is at the J&B Hive for one reason, we were taught from day one to always find ways to work with everyone who’s there and contribute to what everyone else is doing.” 

The J&B Hive is a community of creatives and we're able to use their networks to find collaborative opportunities to further our ventures
Nondumiso Nkosi

Hair innovation sensation Nondumiso Nkosi has been blazing a trail of her own since launching her revolutionary headpiece company Bedoo — a collection of premium custom-made African-inspired wigs.

Bedoo’s fashion-forward fusion of culturally contemporary style has awarded Nkosi a multitude of celebrity endorsements, which includes her 2018 collaboration with SA songstress Nandi Madida that saw her pieces showcased at New York Fashion Week.

Bedoo has also previously partnered with the SA TV Awards and the SA Music Awards.

Over and above her custom-made headpieces taking centre stage in a J&B television commercial, Nkosi has also created a bespoke headpiece for noteworthy lead singer Buhle Mda of the popular local band The Soil.

Having announced her collaboration with Nike at their new Fourways Mall store in September 2019, the year 2020 is set to see Nkosi's Bedoo brand take off in the rarest of ways, with the small town Ndebele beadwork extraordinaire largely accrediting the J&B Hive for her collaborative success, telling S. Mag in its September 2019 issue:

“The J&B Hive is a community of creatives and we're able to use their networks to find collaborative opportunities to further our ventures.”

The J&B Hive has shortened my journey and made it easier for my business to operate
Sthembiso Mpehle

Hell-bent on producing animated content for Africans and by Africans, the progressively expanding Dipopaai animation team, consisting of local cartoonists and founders Sthembiso Mpehle and Kearatwa Sedidi, have been recognised in the 2019 Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans list.

Catering to a largely adult audience, its Kronikles of Hip Hop series has received more than 1m organic views on YouTube, subsequently leading to the Dipopaai duo’s endorsement by popular international television network MTV for the uniquely comical approach adopted in its animated content.

The cartoonists have taken meetings with Warner Brothers and Disney in Canada and Los Angeles respectively, and Mpehle and his partner in cartoon creation are now in talks with Animation SA on diversifying Dipopaai’s content to reach an even wider audience.

Not only did Mpehle showcase Dipopaai’s work at Comic Con Africa 2019 held at Gallagher Estate, he also sat on a panel at the popular expo with various noteworthy animators from across the continent to discuss the future of animation in Africa, to which he feels that, though more widespread awareness is needed, African animation is gradually growing and people have started buying into the idea of our own cartoons and our own narrative.

Having the J&B Hive largely to thank for Dipopaai’s astoundingly progressive success, Mpehle can attest to the creative hub’s contribution to the acceleration of his now fully established enterprise, revealing in a recent interview that the J&B Hive has offered him a wealth of knowledge on managing a successful business.

Not only that, but from the onset of Mpehle's emergence into the African animation industry, the cartoonist has since put the J&B Hive’s financial investment to sustainable use in the form of office and musical equipment, hard drives and many other crucial elements that would have taken years for Dipopaai to attain: “The J&B Hive has shortened my journey and made it easier for my business to operate.” 

Join the support for small businesses on Twitter by following @JBScotchSA @HiveJoburg using the hashtags #JB #BetterBlended

You can catch more of the J&B Hive members Global Entrepreneur Week activities by visiting the J&B Hive website.

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This article was paid for by J&B.