How to Spark Impact & Social Entrepreneurs : Ep 127

Spark* finds and enables startup impact entrepreneurs in South Africa, and some other countries around the world. They are taking the risk with these early stage entrepreneurs and believing in them, and the results are inspiring! Telana speaks with their South Africa CEO Katleho Tsoku and two of their Changemakers, Carol Jacobs and Paul Taliaard. They cover what is making Spark* so successful, and lessons of entrepreneurship as the social entrepreneurs share their advice and tips from their experiences.




About Katleho Tsoku

CEO of Spark* South AfricaKatleho is the CEO for Spark* South Africa.  She is doing an incredible job of growing Spark* in South Africa, and is an alumni Spark* Changemaker and a seasoned entrepreneur herself!

Spark* finds and supports local impact entrepreneurs launching great ideas in very poor areas to improve the lives of people in poverty.  They connect these Changemakers with opportunities that will help them grow their impact, bringing more people out of poverty.

Spark* South Africa is a registered Non Profit Company with Public Benefit Organisation status. Spark* South Africa is part of the wider Spark* International group who also operates in Kenya, Papua New Guinea, the United States and Australia.

Contact and Info
Email: katleho at sparkinternational dot org
Facebook: sparksouthafrica
Twitter: @SparkINT_SA

About Carol Jacobs

Social EntrepreneurI am a single mother. My 3 girls are a real blessing in my life as well as my 2 beautiful granddaughters. It was 19 years ago that I became a single mother and had to battle through life to survive to raise my children on my own. As a single mother I know first-hand what it is, not to have food in your cupboards. I know how it is when you do not have money for school fees and what still about school uniforms.

It was 7 years ago that I identify a need in the community and felt strong in my heart to start a soup kitchen because there are so many children that are hungry. It grew so fast that soon my place was too small to accommodate all the children. We approach the ward Councillor and they offered us a piece of land to work from. We started off with one container and up to date we have 22 shipping containers were we have different projects to meet different needs and lack in the community. We are an organization that offers an After Care program for the children. Some of the projects are feeding, literacy, gardening, computer literacy etc.

Now 3 years ago I saw another need that really disturbed me as I was thinking about it. It is the struggle and frustration of single unemployed mothers that must fight on their own to meet the basic needs of their families and still keep their own sanity.

Again I have decided to do something about this social issue. There is a lack of accommodation in our area for internationals. At the same time there is a high rate of unemployment for these ladies. I thought of setting up Backpackers so that I am able to create jobs for the single unemployed mothers and render a service for the international volunteers. All the jobs in the Backpackers will be run by these mothers.
I am busy with the Backpackers for three years and am at the roof level. My only restraints are finances to complete the building then I can start employing these mothers and accommodate the volunteers.

Contact and Info
Cell: +27844163611
Email: cjacobs35 at gmail dot com

About Paul Taliaard

Social EntrepreneurPaul is the Spark * SA Changemaker of the Year 2014. He founded Hands of Honour four years ago in response to the alarming increase in the amount of young and adult men just languishing in soup kitchens all over Cape Town. Many of the men were also participating in anti-social activities. This is an intolerable situation which breeds welfare dependence and does not bode well for future.

Through hard work and support from various sources Paul founded an upcycling program that has been widely celebrated and recognized as a creative solution to the social ills that plaque Cape Town, especially the Cape Flats and have attained the following a nominations:

Hands of Honour employs individuals languishing in soup kitchens, to up-cycle obsolete stock and recyclable items. Much of this waste is provided through partnerships with the corporate sector and would otherwise end up in landfills. Workers process the waste, either rehabilitating material or stripping goods for sale of parts. Fifty percent of the profits are used for salaries whilst the other fifty percent is used to fund projects that lift up struggling communities, focusing on derelict community spaces and public spaces which have become havens for anti-social behaviour.

The Hands of Honour’s up-cycling program addresses three problems in Cape Town:

  1. Prolonged unemployment
  2. Physically run down spaces that “bring down” communities
  3. Effective management of obsolete stock / recyclable waste

Contact and Info
Cell: +27 72 1389150
Email: handsofhonour at gmail dot com
Facebook: HandsOfHonour


Music Credits:
“Mesmerize” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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