Five licensed liquor traders, from the Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, walked away with R 1 million, at the I Love Alex Awards on Tuesday, for their persuasive ideas that will benefit the community. This comes after completing long trainings equipping them with skills to run sustainable and competitive businesses.
Borsch Liquor owner store owned by Monica Borchardt will use the money to upgrade their businesses in way that fosters a greater culture of responsibility in the community, while ensuring that they and their customers continuously abide by the SAB SHARP values.
Through the I Love Alex project, a programme of the Responsible Beverage Services (RBS) initiative, the five entrepreneurs presented to the Alexandra community their ideas on how they will transform their businesses, and champion responsible consumption in a manner that will benefit the community, thereby aligning with SAB’s SHARP values.
“Retail is the backbone of township economies,” said Zanele Mphuthi at SAB. “The high informality, as well as lack of available support, hampers their resilience and growth. Hence, we are deeply committed to supporting small black-owned retailers through formalisation, training, and infrastructure investment.”
Mphuthi added that SAB traders are a major channel of influence for the organisation to address responsible consumption. Therefore, SAB believes formalisation support is the key to success when it comes to building social cohesions in the places where people come together for a beer.
The RBS initiative is a community-based approach to reducing the risks associated with the sale of alcohol by licensed liquor traders in Alexandra and is initiated by the SAB Foundation as part of a global City Pilot project, in partnership with SANCA, Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Education and Department of Health.
Mphuthi believes such partnership have been successful not only because of a shared purpose, but because of the ability to invoke change from a street level. “We have always taken pride in our communities and know that true change can only materialise on the ground and through tangible action. The RBS initiative is our action, and it is working.”
With the chosen entrepreneurs on the frontline of this change, SAB’s objectives will be achieved through the development, networking, and implementation of a variety of demand and harm reduction strategies.
“We are continually inspired by Alex, which shows just how ready communities are to engage on fixing long-standing issues. At SAB, we take seriously our responsibility to help reduce and prevent the harmful use of alcohol. I Love Alex is showing us how we can make an impact in other communities across the country with partnership and collaboration sitting at the centre of that change,” she concluded.