It’s been a while since we were able to engage with the community on an in-person basis. This past weekend, we hosted our first open day this year since January 2020. The event took place at the Dagbreek Community Hall, in Westridge, Mitchells Plain. And, yes, you read correctly. It was the first time since the start of 2020 – more than two years later!

We welcomed the community with the sweet tunes of our resident DJ Garry and the RLabs.FM team, who kept our online listeners informed about what was happening. And what would an RLabs event be without our famous coffee and koeksister welcome! This time we even had our baristas whip up cappuccinos with artwork on request.

Each guest was greeted with a warm embrace, before indulging in some refreshments. They then made their way to each station to find out about the various opportunities available to them.

The InnovIA team couldn’t have been more excited to welcome the community to share all their entrepreneurial opportunities. They engaged with different types of innovators and entrepreneurs, some with ideas and others who are in the start-up phase of their ventures and were able to offer each of them an appropriate opportunity.
These opportunities include the all-new Ignite and IEP programs. Ignite consists of a series of online Business Readiness activities to prepare participants for the future of their business. The training spans two days and considers their values & vision in light of their business. It also helps them compile a business model canvas to help them access our accelerator or incubator programmes.

IEP, or the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Programme, is one such program and will provide all founders with access to mentorship and developmental support. All founders who participate in the programme will also access digital support like brand identity, website, and systematic design. This support includes administration, e-commerce, social media and various sales & marketing tools.

In addition to these entrepreneurial opportunities, our other ventures all either aid the readying of our community members for accessing them or help them on their journey afterwards. This weekend they had the opportunity to apply to access these ventures.
Zlto allows them to earn digital currency for volunteering. While building their businesses, Zlto allows them to earn something extra they can use to purchase necessities. DLabs offers them various opportunities to help develop the necessary skills and build relationships with like-minded individuals. GapX will allow them to make the best use of whatever money they do earn.

SMEboost assists existing small businesses with a platform to access the various resources that’ll help boost their development. RLabs Women is a platform that allows female entrepreneurs to showcase the businesses they’ve built using these ventures and access seed capital from Junk Fund, our dedicated fund for female founders. Junk fund is where RLabs staff, partners and collaborators donate funds they’d usually waste, on funding the dreams of our female enterprises.
Then we have Aweh, Okazi and, three of the platforms on which successful entrepreneurs can list their products and services. It is also important to note that all these ventures are run by young people who once had dreams, and were developed and backed by us over the years. Talk about full circle…

They were all well-received by all our guests who made it on Saturday. We are hoping to increase applications in the coming months, by hosting more events like this one in the other communities of Mitchell’s Plain. If they are anything like this one, we look forward to the rest of this year with great enthusiasm.

So, in terms of making hope contagious… Mission accomplished!
It is truly an honour to serve the public in person again. The ability to hear their stories, sense their frustrations and then observe their realisation of hope, in real-time, is what fuelled this mission all these years. And we hope it is what will fuel its evolution in the decades to come.

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