We recently launched a new initiative, the Xero Beautiful Business Fund, providing more than R8,000,000 in funding globally to our small business customers in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, Canada and the US. We received a huge number of applications from a diverse range of Xero customers, all doing amazing things.
There were 28 winners overall, including four South African winners who were recognised for best demonstrating, in a 90 second video, how they would use the funding to support their future business goals in one of four categories – Innovating for sustainability, Strengthening community connection, Trailblazing with technology and Upskilling for the future.
As a judge I was blown away by the entries. I’m constantly inspired by the optimism and ambition of the self-made businesses that are at the heart of the South African economy. I’m excited to share the four winners for South Africa:
Innovating for sustainability: Constantia Food Club
Constantia Food Club is a food buying club that connects small local growers and producers directly with customers in Cape Town. Constantia Food Club aims to support local regenerative farmers to help reduce biodiversity loss, promote sustainable food production and create a decentralised food system. They plan to use the fund to help build a new clubhouse, where they can serve more customers and provide additional support to growers and their local environment.
The four South African winners will each receive R250,000 in funding. Constantia Food Club also won a global prize of an additional R545,000, for a total of R795,000 in funding.
“It’s been inspiring to see how our work is connecting more families with small food producers and farmers, and creating a healthier, more sustainable food system. This funding from Xero will help us grow not only our own operations but also those of the Food Club network — unlocking exponential change. We’re so excited to pursue this next stage in our business,” – Courtney Atkinson, Co-founder of Constantia Food Club
Strengthening community connection: Oranjezicht City Farm Market
The Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Cape Town connects small-scale organic farmers and food producers to thousands of customers. Their vision is to assist small-scale organic farmers to sell direct to customers, enabling people nationwide to eat healthy, nutritious food. By empowering and helping organic farmers – they nurture their own supply chain at the Market, and support regenerative agriculture that works for the planet and the health of communities.
A webinar series was designed to meet the knowledge gap related to establishing and hosting farmers markets. The Xero funding will enable the development of a ‘how-to guide’ to starting a farmers market as an online tool for supporting the emergence of farmers markets in communities across South Africa.
“It’s an immense privilege to be recognised for the hard work and dedication that our team has put into making a positive impact in our own community and this recognition only motivates us to do more. Being a Xero Beautiful Business Fund winner is not just a victory for our own business but also a significant milestone for thousands of organic farmers around the country. It means that we will be able to share the knowledge and insights we’ve gained through our experience, contributing to the growth of farmers markets nationwide and further strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers.” – Sheryl Ozinsky, Co-founder, Oranjezicht City Farm Market
Trailblazing with technology: Mygrow
Mygrow provides a software solution based on neuroscience that builds emotional intelligence in employees, psychologically reconfiguring teams for optimal performance. They’ll use the Xero funding to speed up the evolution of their AI functionalities to assist in developing, measuring and tracking emotion-based soft-skills. This will help them more effectively deliver on their vision of building an emotionally intelligent world.
“Thank you Xero for the vote of confidence that this award means to us all at Mygrow. We are humbled by your willingness to come alongside us in our mission, and grateful. At Mygrow we dream of a future where all human beings benefit from the results of increased emotional intelligence, and what that unlocks in our relationships – but we will never realise that mission without the help of partners like Xero. Thank you for believing in us.” – Theran Knighton-Fitt, Co-founder, Mygrow
Upskilling for the future: Curate
Curate is reshaping the landscape of photography and videography content creation using a technology-enabled platform that connects content creators and clients. The Xero funding will help them provide equipment, training workshops and educational material through a more automated technology platform, providing creatives with resources to upskill and better execute projects.
“The Xero Beautiful Business Fund provides us with the opportunity to add more content creators from different regions to our platform, which also improves the overall experience for our clients. More satisfied clients lead to more projects through the platform, which will allow us to add even more content creators in future,” – Juan Steyn, CEO, Curate
The winners have shown an incredible passion and tenacity that’s behind so many small businesses in South Africa. We’re honoured to be able to help these small businesses unlock the next stage of growth. This is what we’re passionate about at Xero – working together to help small businesses explore their potential, contribute more to their communities, and help drive the economy forward.
Thank you to all those who played a role in making our inaugural Xero Beautiful Business Fund such a success. You can find out more about the Fund and the other winners here.