SA Florist launches programme to onboard township businesses

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South African startup SA Florist has launched a programme to onboard township florists, and plans to attract, upskill and support at least 30 entrepreneurs over the next three years.

SA Florist is a custom-built marketplace for consumers and corporate clients to order South flower bouquets, arrangements, and gifts.

A four-month pilot of its new programme has been launched in Soweto to empower independent florists that are owned by black women and service the township area. From 16 applications, five were selected to participate in the programme.

SA Florist managing director Matt Surkont said the pilot project was the result of a detailed analysis of the existing 300 florists on the platform.

“We found an unacceptably small percentage were black-owned,” he said.

The programme uses a two-pronged approach, combining training and peer-to-peer mentorship. The aim is to play a pivotal role in using technology to transform townships by creating market access.

“SA Florist has proved the case by brining township florists into the economy and onto our technology marketplace through this pilot programme. We intend to expand this programme and transform the industry as a whole,” Surkont said.

The entrepreneurs attended five half-day training sessions at Khonology’s Academy focusing on the SA Florist technology, financial management, lean business canvas model and flower arrangement. They were paired with an established florist mentor already on the SA Florist technology platform and spent time learning how to optimise their business operations.

Khonology marketing manager Africa Nkosi said the academy empowers entrepreneurs by providing fundamental knowledge of the core financial products and core technologies.

“The academy aims to provide a practical understanding of the day-to-day workings of specific markets, explain the application of the products within those markets and to explain the under-pinning technology to ensure the markets remain efficient,” he said.

Gertrude Mentoor, who is the owner of Mande Bloom florist in Soweto, said the initiative is a great platform for florists to display their talent.

“Receiving guidance through such a wonderful programme increases business opportunities and gives us the necessary exposure to become an established florist,” she said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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