Hard graft pays off

Online since 5.09.2017 • Filed under Agricilture • From Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 page(s) 14
Hard graft pays off

From the fertile valley of Grabouw in the Western Cape – historically significant as one of the earliest movements towards black ownership of vineyards and wineries – Beverley-Anne Joseph has become the first black female hops farmer in Africa.

Located in Waboomskraal near George, Beverley- Anne Joseph’s 50-hectare farm, Zelpy, produces 20 hectares of bittering and flavour hops for Castle, Castle Lite and craft. It’s through the SAB Thrive Fund that this transaction was made possible. ‘As a young black South African, the biggest challenge for me was start-up capital and finding the right partner to provide business support. SAB’s help with an interest-free loan to purchase the farm and Awethu’s professionalism and support in our engagement sessions were invaluable in making this possible,’ says Joseph.

Learning to work the land alongside her dad who worked in agriculture his whole life, the seed for this moment was sown in Joseph’s youth. When she finished school, there was no question that Joseph wanted to be in any field other than agriculture. ‘As one of seven children, there was no funding for university so I approached local farmers in the small Western Cape farming community to raise the funds.

That’s when I spoke to Dr Paul Cluver, who gave me a bursary to study viticulture and oenology at Stellenbosch University.’ After university, a call from SAB set Josepth on a path of practicing and honing her knowledge and skill with her mentor, Thinus van Schoor, who helped her to explore the limits of what she thought possible.

The story of Joseph’s dedication and commitment is indelibly written in the pages of her CV with no room for doubt that her mother’s ‘never give up’ attitude was deeply embedded within her. At the age of 33, Joseph is more than a skilled farmer and business woman with vision for leading the charge in cutting-edge changes in the hops field. She is centred by a strong drive to impact the core team of 10 people who work with her: ‘With so much land there is huge scope to help my workers develop their own enterprises in  vegetable farming, for example, to improve their living conditions and the quality of their lives. My dream is that the success of the farm will snowball into the community, South Africa and beyond.’

The SAB Thrive Fund is a black private equity fund that was established and is funded by SAB in partnership with the Awethu Project to transform SAB’s supplier base through acquisition, business development and fostering entrepreneurship.
The Awethu Project is one of Africa’s leading social enterprises, growing from a R60 000 start up to a R450m incubator and private equity fund manager. Awethu has incubated over 2 000 entrepreneurs and refined its SME equity investment model by innovating and testing equity investments in micro, small and medium enterprises alike. For more information, visit www.awethuproject.co.za.

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

This article was featured on page 14 of SABI Magazine Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 .

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