Soweto Business Hub is the brainchild of Bruno Pauly, chairperson of the Rainbow Children Trust (RBC).
Founded in 2001, RBC’s main aim is to raise funds – mainly from overseas – to support grassroot level non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and empower them financially through training (bookkeeping, the non-profit organisation (NPO) registration process, etc).
The RBC’s mission is to serve as a funding vehicle for projects that aim to alleviate poverty and provide quality education and healthcare to children and the youth.
Apart from the smaller NPOs that are supported, the main projects that are funded currently are:
Lerato Educational Centre – a learning centre for 500 children in the South of Johannesburg (leratoeducation.org).
A support programme for high-school learners.
Providing various student bursaries.
Facilitating learnership programmes in the South of Joburg and Soweto.
Challenges with the learnership groups led to the idea of creating a business centre:
It was difficult to find suitable training facilities in Soweto.
Learners who completed programmes found themselves in a situation where starting a business was virtually impossible (lack of affordable office space, no access to further training, mentoring, funding and networking).
It also turned out that other NGOs and small community forums find it difficult to find suitable meeting spaces.
Soweto Business Hub addresses these challenges by offering a dynamic space where a community of entrepreneurs and small business owners can prosper.