Impact SA

Entrepreneurs making a difference…powered by Standard Bank

Vernac Main Image

Those who have shown entrepreneurial drive and have started businesses usually face the market access challenge, as the number one challenge, as there are legacy barriers to entry into major corporate supply chains. Once access to markets has been gained, the need often quickly escalates to funding requirements to fulfil obligations. Development needs are related to creating a healthy pipeline of work, along with services that are necessary, but can take a backseat when it comes to working lean and nimbly, such legal, accounting and digital marketing services.

We therefore build our capability across the three pillars of access to market, funding and development; this is done through carefully selected impact programmes that seek to unlock the ecosystems within which these businesses operate. Focus is placed on tailor-made development for a business, based on unique needs that will help drive the business to sustainability and the next level, as well as very specific introductions into corporate supply chains.

We will continue to help drive these businesses forward to achieve sustainability, help generate further employment and create an impact to society. We encourage big dreamers within these ecosystems who are looking to become global players – and, of course, we will be there to support that “next”.

Celebrating “their next”

Kholofelo Sadiki, Founder and CEO of Vernac Me

Vernac Me was born out of a desire to have my two girls learn their home languages of Sepedi and TsiVenda. My husband is Venda and I come from a Sepedi upbringing, so language became a very tricky tug-of-war in the Sadiki family. With our eldest daughter having gone to English-medium pre-preparatory and preparatory schools, English subsequently became the medium of communication with the kids. However, I wanted both my daughters to learn how to speak, read and write both Venda and Sepedi. After looking for months for kids, language schools with no success, Vernac Me was born.

Vernac Me offers classes at various schools in Gauteng as part of their extra-mural curriculum and language development programme. Classes can be offered in all 11 official languages of South Africa and international languages are also in progress and will be part of the offering soon.

My first engagement with Standard Bank was through an education sector-based programme that was not only designed for our industry, but also designed to network with other entrepreneurs in sector to share ideas, build networks and create linkages that drive synergy. Since then, I’ve been part of a number of specific interventions run through the team to help my business grow within the education ecosystem.

In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to other initiatives through Standard Bank’s partnerships, for example with General Electric (GE). The GE programme is aimed at helping build my business’ digital footprint. This ties in with my “big next” for the business which is to build a scalable and successful platform for children all over Africa to learn their home languages in a fun-filled and most convenient way possible.

The preservation of our indigenous languages, heritage and culture is a key priority in all that we do and we believe this is a key asset for all children to break barriers and ensure social cohesion – keep watching this space; bigger things are on their way in 2018!

If you want to know more about Vernac Me, or if you’re interested in signing up your child for lessons, please contact Kholofelo at

Glad Kaiser, Founder and Head Honcho at Bala Books Creations

The tradition of storytelling is one of Africa’s most ancient cultures — as a child-authored book publisher, Bala Books understands the importance of schools having a great storytelling mandate. As such, we have forged mutual school business partnerships that will see professional children’s book-writing courses offered inside the classroom, in the rural, township and peri-urban schools.

“The World Beyond Your Own” is our flagship programme aimed at helping children (from the age of seven) escape into the world of books by schooling them in the anthologies of authoring children’s reading books. The children’s book-writing programme provides a literary solution that furthers the progress of reading and writing

among children, developing skilled child authors from a young age. Each programme comprises 12 modules — a set of independent units — combined to form a course; and each child leaves with a book that has been edited, illustrated and printed for them, with the potential of being published.

Bala Books has partnered with Standard Bank and the Community Partner Schools they support to deliver literary book-writing programmes, digitally and traditionally. And because both Bala Books and Standard Bank have committed to lifelong learning that will contribute to the overall learner achievement, the partnership will lead to opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, particularly in the publishing of child-authored books and the opportunity for children to earn royalties for their published works.

The same creativity that is used to create stories will be used in the future to develop innovative business ideas and to help an innovative young entrepreneur like Glad Kaiser (me) to take his business to the next level. If you want to know more about Bala Books, or if you’re interested in signing your child up to author their own book, please contact Glad at


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