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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Fantastique! 12 SA, Lesotho, Malawi entrepreneurs get French backing

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Entrepreneurs in fashion, design, audio-visual, video games and music this week got a foot in the door after the Embassy of France in South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) revealed the top 12 entrepreneur finalists now entering Création Africa’s final incubation and immersion stage.

The list of 40 finalists was whittled down to 12 initiatives – one from Lesotho, two from Malawi and nine from South Africa – are led by talented entrepreneurs, one-third of whom are women, making waves in the areas of fashion, design, audio-visual, video games and music.

This is a boost to the South African finalists amid the prolonged economic downturn has taken its toll on small businesses and is extra challenging to get new businesses off the ground.

Création Africa fell within a continent-wide initiative launched in 2023 by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs focused on the cultural and creative industries in 16 African countries, as part of its renewed engagement to invest in entrepreneurship and creative industries on the continent, IFAS said in a statement on Wednesday.

The R24 million Création Africa programme has been designed to reinforce cultural cooperation between France and Lesotho, Malawi and South Africa by supporting cultural and creative talents from these countries on their entrepreneurial journeys.

The 12 finalists are:

– Ananta Design Studio – Viveka and Rucita Vassen, design – Cape Town, South Africa

– GIYA – Giyani Mashimbye and Cassandra Twala, design – Johannesburg, South Africa

– Kwacha Creative Studios – Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba and Rafik Seleman, audio-visual – Blantyre, Malawi

– LSJ Clothing and Merchandising – Julian Kubel, fashion – Johannesburg, South Africa

– Moodswing – Jimmy Muteba, music and media – Johannesburg, South Africa

– Pineapple on Pizza Studios – Kushal Jeethendra Sithlu, gaming – Johannesburg, South Africa

– Renaissance Design – Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, design – Pretoria, South Africa

– SourceCode Motion Pictures – Katleho Monyako, audiovisual Maseru, Lesotho

– SpaceSalad Studios – Thabo Tsolo, gaming – Johannesburg, South Africa

– Tendalo Trading – Xolile Mabuza, fashion – Mbombela, South Africa

– Terry Made Designs – Terrence Thobani Ngulube, fashion – Blantyre, Malawi

– THEBE MAGUGU – Thebe Magugu, fashion – Johannesburg, South Africa

What’s next?

The finalists will embark on a five-month incubation journey designed to empower them and take their creative ventures to the next level.

This included not only strategic guidance and tailored training, but also invaluable exposure and networking opportunities with French and international cultural and creative industry experts and investors, as well as financial grants ranging from €30 000 (R596 257) to €50 000, IFAS said .

“Congratulations to our cohort of 12 for reaching this stage in the programme. Their success through a very competitive field is a testament to their talent, dedication and great potential,” said Ambassador of France to South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi, David Martinon.

“Business acceleration programmes in the cultural and creative industries, such as Création Africa, are crucial for nurturing creative talent and I am convinced that investment in ecosystems, skills development and innovation can drive productivity and competitiveness, leading to sustainable economic growth and job creation across our nations.

“In this latest phase, we aim to develop a holistic support system that ensures these entrepreneurs gain the competitive edge they need as well as providing them with essential industry insights and networking opportunities that will open doors to further their growth and success,” he said.


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