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    Eugenie has been involved in the Cultural and Creative Industries for over 30 years.

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    Eugenie’s extensive experience bridging the informal development sector and the formal sector has equipped her with multiple skills

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    With a strong sense of justice, upliftment of individuals forms a central part of any project Eugenie undertakes, as is evidenced by her extensive community involvement, at every level.

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    Eugenie has collaborated with many product developers and craft enterprises in Southern Africa and abroad on refining products and product ranges

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NONO SEKHOTO – she came in small and walked out tall

NONO SEKHOTO – she came in small and walked out tall

A couple of years ago I was privileged to be selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs-GIBS 10 000 women programme – a global programme focusing on 10 000 women entrepreneurs in developing countries who were making a difference.

I was asked to speak at our graduation and the title of my speech was “We came in small – and we walk out Tall” which was a tribute to how most of us talked ourselves down and did not own our achievements.

 

A great example of this is pint size, dynamic Nono Sekhoto who initially introduced herself as a farmer when in reality she farmed with Ayreshire cattle and supplied milk to Woolworths - a major retail store with incredibly high standards and not easy to be a supplier to. This context provided an understanding for the level of achievement and delivery that enabled this small business transaction – this is walking out tall!

I bumped into her recently and she said that she has established Growth Shoot which works with social innovation in agrifood, with the aim to further the participation of youth in agriculture in order to increase food security and employment. She recently attended the Social Roots Expo Camp in Milan where she interacted with participants from Brazil, Senegal, France and Italy who were involved in the creation of interesting projects from city rooftop farming; a food waste management system made possible by an app connecting food shop owners to 50 000 consumers; teaching agriculture in schools; a farming gaming app that teaches and connects the community to farmers; to making packaging from tomato skin and seed and many others. The lecture topics were Social Business Models and Social Innovation: Exploring ideas of finding ways to develop sustainable businesses that have a social benefit outcome. Nono explained: “This is how we are building Growth Shoot – from learning, from new discoveries, from great minds that we connect with across the world”.

In addition, Nono has just been nominated by the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) to represent them as a board member of the National Farmers Co-operative Bank of South Africa (NAFCOBSA) - a major step for farmers being galvanized to establish a farmers’ cooperative bank so that farmers are able to take control over their own destiny.

This is standing tall and is inspiring, in that this young woman has stood tall and risen to the challenge facing young farmers and instead of waiting for someone to do something, she has stepped up and is making it happen – she came in small and walked out tall and I will continue to watch her journey which will not only contribute to her specific sector but also make a difference to our country.

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