Empowering SA

Building Women-owned Micro-enterprises in South Africa

The vision is to play a role in the socio-development of these communities. We believe that employment, empowerment and dignity are essential to building sustainable communities. 

We wish to build a network of community based people, predominantly women peer trainers, who form an integral part of on-going consumer education and training that will have an impact on the economic growth and upliftment of those communities over decades.

The business model is to source potential trainers in local communities who operate as peer trainers. These peer trainers are up-skilled in training skills and field operation effectiveness in order to execute their work according to the expectations of our clients.  A team of mentors facilitate the ongoing up-skilling and quality control in this regard. Our initial emphasis is to train and equip them to deliver low-skill training interventions focusing on financial literacy as the first offering.

Over time, as our business grows, our goal is to identify the trainers that show the right aptitude, and offer them the opportunity to create their own SMME. We will up-skill them in small business management while they gain experience and they will have access to our mentorship programme.

Footprint has created a model which offers the market place a national vehicle to deliver consumer education to a large number of people in a cost effective way that uplifts communities and SMMEs as an integral part of the solution.

We propose that Financial Literacy can fall into a similar category as HIV Treatment Literacy.  In its early years, HIV training was also delivered by the ‘medical expert’: the issues seemed complex and educating the general public was slowed down because of the ‘medicalese’ language used to communicate.

Once those in the HIV education industry realized it was a lifestyle issue, they found ways to reframe the education process so that it could be trained by lay people based within communities, communicating simple but life-critical concepts that could be understood and implemented by all.

We believe that the same is happening to Financial Literacy.  It’s a life skill.  Every person needs to have some basic insights with which to empower themselves.  The insights and principles can’t be complex or academic.  They have to be broken down into bites of learning that can be taught by anyone, and learned by anyone. 

And so the idea of the ‘expert’, or the ‘professional’ trainer, we believe (like yourselves), is an unnecessary, expensive, and outdated approach to bringing Financial Literacy to the masses in South Africa.  Like HIV, the financial principles should be created simply enough so that it can be trained by lay people based within communities.

Using Peer Trainers has many benefits which allow us to meet our aim of reaching a lot of people quickly, cost effectively while creating sustainability with communities.

The Benefits of the Peer Trainer Model:

  • Cost benefit: travel and accommodation costs are greatly reduced as trainers operate within their local communities. You are simply able to reach more people for the same budget
  • Bridge the formal ‘financial institution’ fear barrier: the peer model reduces the threat of the ‘expert’ training model – learners feel at ease and are able to discuss more freely when not feeling intimidated
  • Lose the ‘expert’ – If she (the trainer) can do this, then so can I – the role-modelling and sense of empowerment from seeing a peer access the knowledge sets people at ease
  • Reach: the model supports sourcing trainers in most communities across South Africa, and is not limited to areas easily reached by bus or plane
  • Learn more: smaller groups mean individuals have better interaction and facilitated peer learning – their own concerns and stories can be voiced. The temptation is to increase class sizes to justify high travel, accommodation and overhead costs. Here, optimally sized classes are still sustainable
  • Micro Enterprise development: Can meet social development targets with a project that builds it’s own sustainability: invest in CSI/Enterprise development that supports business, compliance and social objectives (although this is not an imperative in the project)
  • Language free: because the training is couched in pictures, trainers are free to use any language they like to conduct sessions, and, living in the community they train, they are more likely to overcome historical language barriers, making the training more accessible to all.

We would love to come and chat to you about potential requirements your organisation may with respect to consumer education (particularly Financial Literacy Education projects in the shorter term), Micro Enterprise Development, or CSI community empowerment projects you may have in mind. 

We’re hoping we can find common ground, and opportunities to work together in that space.


The Boikamoso Duo

Footprint offers sustainable, national training at a ridiculously low cost. We have many goals and objectives, but one of our key focus areas is community development. This dynamic duo have been given the opportunity to work with Footprint as part of our SMME development strategy. The Boikamoso team have been tasked with engaging and forming relationships with various sectors of South Africa’s rural and urban population, as well as lining up the necessary learners and training venues for our country-wide training sessions.

The Boikamoso guys (Siphiwe Tshabalala and Raleka Sentso) met at their high school, PAC Community College in Soweto, and have been friends and business partners ever since.  Since school they have showed great entrepreneurial ability in forming companies to fill the gap in niche regions of our economy. They decided to call their newest company Boikamoso, which roughly translated, means Future.  It was actually started as an insurance company but they soon realized that starting an insurance company might be a bit ambitious.  It was in its early stages when the duo met Andre Grobler, the co-founder and CEO of Ngikwazi.  Andre then referred Siphiwe and Raleka to Jules Newton, CEO of Avocado Vision (one of Footprint’s major shareholders), and Jules saw an immediate opportunity.

So began the Boikamoso SMME story, and so began Footprint’s mission to provide skills to the underprivileged in managing their finances and empowering them in a sustainable fashion. One of the main questions we had to ask the duo was how they were going to find the people and venues for our training?  This proved to be a tough process as the majority of the hunting had to be done by phone. The duo began cold-calling NGO’s, governments, unions, municipalities and schools country-wide. Once the learners and venues were organized it boiled down to hope, because there was no tangible way of monitoring whether the learners would actually come or the venue was actually booked, so they had to take suppliers by their word only and hope they would come through.

In our recent roll-out of financial literacy training in conjunction with the Financial Services Board (FSB), The Boikamoso team pulled in a staggering 41% of the 3000 delegates needed for the training.  The rest were brought in by the remainder of the Footprint team.  The “Financial Guide for Youth” training was applicable for all youths between the ages of 18 and 22. 

The Boikamoso team aim to expand their company in the future by growing with Footprint to ensure firm roots in financial literacy nation-wide. They love the thought of empowering the people of South Africa and themselves at the same time.  Each new project through Footprint will present new challenges and opportunities for Siphiwe and Raleka to grow and expand their reach, ultimately stepping closer to our main goal… to have a financially free South Africa.

Growing, Empowering, Educating, Learning, Thinking, Reaching…