Who We Are

People say small businesses are the future of South Africa, yet small businesses lack support. Students and youth have the agency to drive change in our country, but lack practical experience. At Phaphama we believe that it is at this intersection, between education and entrepreneurship, that we can increase social awareness and make a more economically inclusive South Africa. 

Phaphama SEDI is a non-profit student-run consulting organization. Phaphama trains senior University students who are innovative and passionate about making societal change, and who crave practical experience working with the local business community outside of their university environment. We connect these students with exceptional small and medium enterprises based in Khayelitsha and Philippi, who lack the necessary support to meet their entrepreneurial goals.  

These diverse and dynamic teams of entrepreneurs (EPs) and students work together in order to grow the businesses of the EPs. Throughout the years, we have found that the increased entrepreneurial capacity is only one of many facets of Phaphama: networking, support, relationships, and compassion grow from the ground of our organization.

A brief history of Phaphama:

Phaphama SEDI was started in 2014 by a small group of dynamic UCT students. In 2014, Phaphama began work with 7 entrepreneurs from Khayelitsha. Just five years later, in 2019, we began the year working with 30 entrepreneurs from Khayelitsha, Philippi, Lange and Belhar.

To date we have worked with over 100 small to medium enterprises and over 300 student consultants.


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Our Programme

Our Guiding Principles:

Phaphama SEDI’s mandate is to strengthen entrepreneurship in South Africa’s townships and develop more socially-conscious students. Phaphama’s business development programme was designed according to six key principles, which have developed over the past six years as we have been met with challenges, shifts and growth in size and scope. We are confident that a thorough application of these principles has resulted in a program which systematically adds value for the student-consultants and entrepreneurs. The following explanatory statements emanate throughout every corner of Phaphama.

  • Inclusivity: Designing a program that can assist any committed entrepreneur, understanding and accounting for different personal histories, backgrounds, and identities.
  • Adaptable: Avoiding a “textbook-style” rigid program that isn’t applicable to all industries, locations and people. It also needs to encourage entrepreneurs and consultants to shift according to trends and shocks, while encouraging the consultants to think beyond frameworks.
  • Collaborative: Encouraging collaboration between consultants, entrepreneurs, community & industry leaders. Avoid “lecturing-style” learning.
  • Innovation: Our data-backed and well-researched program is constantly evolving. Further, we will be fluid with the implementation of youth-driven ideas, with aims to constantly find new and better ways of impacting the lives of our student-consultants and EPs.
  • Sustainable: As a visionary organization, we see a future in other parts of the continent, and eventually the rest of the world. Embedded in our growth projection is a sustainable framework to uphold the organization to its core values and standards.
  • Community: Create an atmosphere that encourages entrepreneurs and consultants to push themselves, while forming lasting relationships. Establishing value systems, involvement in the community; going above and beyond finances, it is crucial to make an open space which acknowledges and encourages compassionate connections across a wide range of identities.

At the start of the programme Phaphama forms teams of students who have very specific, as well as diverse, skillsets and pairs them with an entrepreneur or a small business owner. Bridging a gap between entrepreneurs in townships and the younger generation of university students is a rare occurrence and Phaphama differentiates itself in this way. The end-goal of this partnership is to leave the business stronger and more sustainable. The programme does this through a series of workshops that are focused on imparting business knowledge to the entrepreneurs. Although the ultimate goal is to end the programme with a successful business, the benefits of this programme extend to both the entrepreneur and consultant as an exchange of skills – working in the real-world as a business owner and, conversely, the more academic approach to economics – occurs throughout the programme.

The programme runs over the course of the year and includes an opportunity for funding in our mid-year Lion’s Den programme. This opportunity for funding is integrated into the programme which helps entrepreneurs identify their business’s strengths and weakness, how to foster growth and sustainability, as well as creating valuable connections and networks. Student consultants gain insight into the informal economy and its place in the economic landscape, foster consulting skills and real-world problem solving skills and contribute to the improvement of the lives of others in a fundamental and tangible way.


Our 2022 Team

2022 Executive Team

We are excited to announce that the executive team that will take Phaphama forward has been finalized. Here they are:

Mulisa Bugana


Nandipha Qina

Marketing Director

Gareth McHardy

Consultants coordinator

Yolanda Benya

Entrepreneur coordinator

Ebeneza Mabala

Entrepreneur coordinator

Charmaine Xiluva Zitha

Programme Coordinator

Jessica Anne Nicklin

Monitoring and evaluations Officer

Landokuhle Hadebe

Fundraising Officer

The Board

Catherine Gwynne-Evans

Board Member

Rowan Spazzoli

Board Member

Sandiswa Gwele

Board Member

Lawrence Edwards

Board Member

Justine Burns

Board Member

Chalwyn Vorster

Board Member

Mzoxolo Kutta

Board member

Thandwefika Radebe

Board Member


Research Team

Phaphama SEDI Research Team Launched !

Phaphama is delighted to announce the launch of a permanent Phaphama Research Team opportunity in 2021. The team will consist of two-researchers who will tasked with the challenge of researching South Africa’s greatest asset, its ever evolving informal economy. This opportunity will be offered in partnership with the Chair of the Poverty and Inequality branch of the National Research Foundation and as such shall offer partial scholarships to successful our researchers.

The mandate of the Phaphama research team will be to spark academic interest in the informal sector. The informal economy is a vital source of employment for many South Africans. However, it is under- researched and misunderstood, leading to ineffective policies and support to this part of our economy. The research team will aim to contribute to literature around the informal economy and to spark interest in young academics into this vital sector.

Phaphama SEDI has recently shown the important role that academic research can have in creating awareness on the struggles and triumphs of the informal sector. Our COVID-19 report titled “The Impact of COVID on small and micro businesses” was covered by 15 national media outlets and was used in the creation of a R30 million fund for youth micro-businesses. This shows the impact a research- branch of Phaphama can achieve.

Meet the 2021 research team 

Sophie de Bruyn

Sophie  will be researching access to capital for businesses operating in the informal economy, as well as the impact of financial literacy on the informal economy. Through her research she aims to identify the challenges surrounding access to capital, and to provide relevant recommendations in order to drive inclusive growth in this sector.

Catherine Gwynne-Evans

In her Honours long paper research, Catherine will analyse the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for 2020 through following labour market transitions of owner-operators over three quarters. This will be used to gain an understanding of the entry into and exit from informal enterprise ownership in South Africa’s post-COVID economic climate. 


Recent News

Understanding the Informal Sector with Catherine Gwynne-Evans

“Phaphama is a paradigm of the social change that we need, that doesn’t ignore the clear correlation between power, money, social and political issues.” Before telling the success stories of Phaphama, it is important to understand why these stories matter

What Phaphama Means – a short reflection on the year gone by

With the Phaphama program for 2020 done and dusted we sat down with a few members of the Phaphama community and asked them what Phaphama meant to them this year. These were some of their answers: “The word Phaphama means

Stitching her path to couture: AndyB

By Caleb Qoyo and Kayla Kolker 'I really loved clothing but never thought I would have a career in fashion... I grew up a fashionable girl, I loved clothes, but I never thought..' Andy Buthane , founder of Andy B

Six years of Phaphama – Our Story

Written by Caleb Qoyo Phaphama was birthed from the consolidation of three separate student affiliated organisations, (i) the SAB Foundation, (ii) Angel Fund which was under Enactus and (iii) Siyaya. The SAB Fund was created when SAB gave money to

Grace Dila, Nurturing her Community through Dila’s Corner

Written by - Caleb Qoyo Grace Dila, owner of Dila’s Corner had plans and dreams to be here or there, like we all do. She knew what was going to take her there, it was not money nor anybody else. 

Money screams and charity is a whisper

WRITTEN BY - KAYLA KOLKER Power; what is the first thing that comes to mind when hearing this word? In the contemporary and western-influenced mindset of today, the answer most likely has to do with money. L’argent, geld, novac, imali,


2020 Publications

Insights on the SMME sector

Why Women-owned Businesses in S.A Townships Fail

A visual map presentation outlining the decline in female entrepreneurship, the forces driving it and gaps in the solution landscape.


Organizational Overview Document

Document aimed at potential funders that outlines of our structure, impact and 5 year plan.


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