Local entrepreneur Bruce Diale, a soil scientist and multi award winning inventor has participated in the Groundswell Accelerator programme in Gauteng as from May this year.
Groundswell is an interactive 18-month programme which focuses on small entrepreneurs working in the green economy and Diale is sharing the opportunity with other 25 environmental entrepreneurs from around the country.
The programme builds entrepreneurial skills and cultivates sound business practices.
Diale who, with his father Nkgodi Diale, founded a garden company that facilitates food security through efficient water usage in 2014, was delighted to make the grade of the initiative. “I was happy to be selected and also be among other young entrepreneurs. I learnt a lot from the workshop. I gathered more knowledge about business and it was also an opportunity to interact with fellow entrepreneurs,” remarked Diale.
“The workshop helped me to get my finances and administration in order. I now have a financial policy, job descriptions, and started doing performance appraisals. I have upgraded my email signature, upgraded my computer and communication channels. I have employed a bookkeeper and finance officer, and revised the company vision, using workshops to teach my employees about the changes we are implementing,” added Diale.
The 28-year old holds a BSc Agriculture from the University of Limpopo and is currently pursuing an MBA. He stressed that they invented the gardening company in order to create employment and to relieve hunger. “The gardening company uses products to grow healthy organic vegetables easily, without tools and using only minimal space and water. My father works on the product development and research and I do the marketing and distribution for the product as well as developing the potting soil in which the produce grows. We want to introduce these type of inventions to people they can use them to fend for themselves,” Diale said.
He also owns an agricultural consulting company founded on the vision of innovating and revolutionising the rural agricultural landscapes of Africa. The Polokwane based company helps farmers in the rural areas with support services, training, mentorship, food security innovation and farm infrastructure development.
He says he plans to employ more personnel and help subsistence farmers in the province. “One of our company’s visions is to empower people and also contribute to the development of our society. We want to help small farmers in the rural areas with knowledge. We want to link them to markets and businesses. We want to see them growing and also competing with big industries in the agricultural sector. On their own they cannot, some have tried but they need help from professionals and we are ready to assist them,” Diale said.
Last year, his gardening company won the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Emerging Enterprise Awards for Excellence in the Management of Technology category and Emerging Enterprise Innovation.
Diale said it was encouraging to win the awards and also described them as sign of good things to come. “It is also good to get recognition and also to be rewarded for our efforts. We will continue working hard and making a difference in the people’s lives,” he concluded.
Story and photo: Herbert Rachuene