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Zespri Kiwifruit looks for South Africa’s First “Zesprineur”

Categories: COMPANY NEWS , Enterprise
First of its kind programme for the company & aims at young SA entrepreneurs by supporting them before they go to market on their own.

Zespri International Limited, the world's largest marketer of kiwifruit, has partnered with SAGDA (South African Graduates Development Association) and The Star Workplace to launch an entrepreneurship programme called, “Zesprineur.”

“We decided on the Zesprineur project in South Africa as it provides an opportunity to develop future business leaders and showcase the creative breed of entrepreneurs that the country has to offer,” says Lianne Jones, Zespri’s Business Development Manager for Africa, Israel and Indian Islands. “For an entrepreneur starting out, getting connections to relevant business partners and influencers can be challenging and takes considerable leg-work and time. The Zesprineur program will help speed up the processes as well as give exposure to the finalists.”

This kind of Corporate Social Investment is one of the ways in which Zespri aims to support a sustainable kiwifruit industry and the Zesprieneur project sits alongside other initiatives formed by the company across the globe.

Continues Jones, “Our long-standing focus at Zespri has been to invest in the future of our industry by supporting the education of young people. These initiatives range from fundraising for youth charities to supporting community volunteering and sponsoring a teaching resource kit on plants and pollination for local New Zealand schools. In Europe, we support a schools programme to promote the health benefits of regularly eating fruit, so this project aims to complement these successes.”

The ultimate outcome of the South African program is to support the Zesprineurs as they build their path for future success with support and mentorship. This can range from writing a professional business plan, to executing a marketing strategy or even helping to commercialise an idea or product.

The Zesprineur participates were selected from SAGDA members who had to present their business ideas, based on the brief of creating a “kiwi-inspired” product or service. The next stage was to develop a business plan to sell their products or ideas and then present back to the judging panel highlighting what they saw as their major obstacles to get started. After that the finalists were chosen based on who had the best ideas and who we could be assisted either through financing or mentoring. In some cases it was both.

Over the next few months the finalists will be mentored with the winner of the competition announced at an event in early December 2016.         

For more information, updates and recipe ideas, log on to www.zespri.com, like us on Facebook and follow @Zespri_ZA.

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