A few months ago, the Global Exchange Online Store went on a direct buy trip to Southern Africa and visited several Fair Trade artisan groups. One of those groups visited was Streetwires, a business with a social mission that is tackling the problems of unemployment and poverty in South Africa head on. Global Exchange buyers came back with amazing shared stories from the artisans there as well as beautiful crafts that can be found online.

Recently, we found out some good news about our partner artisan group. Streetwires founder, Patrick Schofield was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year for South Africa!

The award was presented at a glittering ceremony in Johannesburg on November 13th in which South Africa’s ‘Best Entrepreneur’, ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ and Social Entrepreneur were announced.

Schofield comments, “ The award though given to me as an individual, is in recognition of all those who have been involved in building Streetwires into what it is today. That includes each individual artist who has dedicated their time and creative ability into producing the beautiful craft for which we have become known right through to my co-founders, Winston Rangwani & Anton Ressel with whom this journey began. But beyond this it is also in recognition of our role in leading within our field; in creative development, achieving our social objectives and in the engendered entrepreneurial spirit within Streetwires that has seen both us grow as an organisation and many people who have been part of Streetwires going on to build other successful organisations.

“We would like to thank all of those who have been part of creating Streetwires; suppliers, colleagues, friends, customers and supporters – those who have inspired us to accomplish what we set out to do and those who have assisted us in the more difficult times. We would especially like to thank the Raymond & Wendy Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation and the Grassroots Business Initiative for their support – quite simply, without the backing of these two organisations, Streetwires would not be here today to celebrate this award.”

About the Schwab Foundation Award:

The Schwab Foundation works with media and corporate partners in several countries to search and select the most accomplished social entrepreneurs in the country every year. An eminent national jury then elects “The Social Entrepreneur of the Year”.

The main criteria for selection are:

1. Innovation: The candidate has transformed traditional practice through an innovative product, service, approach, or a more rigorous application of known technologies and ideas.

2. Sustainability: The organisation is achieving some degree of financial self-sustainability through revenues or is engaged in creating mutually beneficial partnerships with business and/or the public sector.

3. Direct social impact: The candidate implements the initiative directly with poor or marginalised beneficiaries. Impact manifests itself in quantifiable results.”