Renshia Manuel

GrowBox Wholesale Nursery - Trading as - GrowBox
On the Property of Mountview High School, Hanover Park, Cape Town

What Does Your Company Do?

As GrowBox we classify ourselves as a social enterprise because we impact vulnerable communities through the promotion, and implementation urban food gardens within condensed urban residential areas. Through CSI funds and government entities we are able to promote urban agriculture and food gardening workshops to marginalised communities stricken with poverty, malnutrition and hunger. It’s our aim to bring food security to the masses that needs it the most. We specialise in sustainable food gardening that can be practised within confined spaces like informal settlements, flats, backyards and even balcony spaces, using everyday containers like crates, baths and waste materials. Our product range includes wooden veggie boxes that enable our clients to grow their own food organically at their own homes. These elevated boxes promote healthy growing within polluted, baron or paved areas. As an added revenue stream, we have a wholesale nursery that grows vegetable and herb seedlings wholesale to farms, retail nurseries, government entities, NGOs, NPOs and community organisations. Our services include consultations and installations of food gardens for our clients as well as veggie box gardens that caters to our clients’ unique culinary requirements to their specifications.

What is your Biggest Success?

• In June of 2016 Renshia won 3rd place in the #YouthStartEntreprenurship Competition. • After #YouthStartCT she was a participant of Eco-Connect, a 8-month incubation programme hosted by Le Comptoir de l’Innovation (now Igalelo), where she benefited from business mentorship, entrepreneurship workshops and business networking. • In 2017 she was selected for the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy as is currently receiving 18 months mentorship and business support from them. Media coverage: http://amaphiko.redbull.com/en/projects/growbox • She was also chosen for the Spark* International Programme for social entrepreneurs in July of 2017. • In August 2017 she attended Imvelisi Bootcamp in Pretoria for envirotrepeneurs receiving business support within the green economy sector. • In November 2017 she won the Western Cape regionals of Engen Pitch & Polish. She made it through to the semi-final and finals in Johannesburg, South Africa. In December 2017 she won 3rd place in competition. • In September 2018 she participated in the AWIEF (African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Foundation) Accelerator programme and In November won 3rd place in the Pitch & Accelerate competition (also hosted by AWIEF). • On the 13th of September of 2018 she won the 3rd place in the Samsung Global Accelerator Programme. Of the 20 participating companies she was chosen to represent her company (GrowBox) and South Africa in Seoul (South Korea) In December 2018. It was an opportunity to engage, learn and develop her entrepreneurial knowledge with like-minded social enterprises in Seoul. • In February 2019 she was the South African finalist in the Inco Women of The Year Competition 2019 with the finals held in Paris, France.

What has been your Biggest Hurdle?

Finances and business development has been my biggest hurdles thus far. In order to overcome the financial hurdles I entered entrepreneurship competitions in order to build the current infrastructure that the nursery currently has. It was also used to support initial salaries until the company was able to generate its own income. Business development hurdles was overcome by participating in programme that would aid my development goals and ambitions and to give me the necessary support i needed in order to develop my skills and broaden my business understanding as I never did business studies on a tertiary level. These skills was also supported and aided by mentors and networks with whom I am affiliated to.

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