Building System Capacity - Green Economies

By valuarising waste we can create businesses that will generate jobs and provide new skills while saving the planet from waste.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Belinda Putterill

Initiative's representative date of birth

18 February 1971

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • South Africa

Where are you making a difference?


Website or social media url(s) @useitkzn

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $100k - $250k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

A Feasibility Study was completed which determined that the Hammarsdale Waste Beneficiation Centre was a feasible project from an environmental, social economic and financial perspective we built a "Green Hub" that will promote job creation by participating in the production of green products from recycled and locally available material for larger scale contracts, while at the same time providing participants with useful skills development, training and incubation for own future business ventures. It will also stimulate economic activity in the area from the collection of recyclable waste and empower people to live their life with dignity and respect.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

New green jobs and businesses including SMMEs need to be created in this sector which will unlock meaningful opportunities for youth development and employment. This necessitates new training programmes and opens up opportunities for diversification to buffer against job losses.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The need for Green Skills is a common thread running through all South Africa’s Green Economy plans, yet there is no catalytic initiative to build the capacity of the national skills development system to pro-actively and strategically produce Green Skills for the Green Economy. The current SAQA standards do not cater for accredited green skills training courses or qualifications and SETA’s are not aligned to this sector. The project focuses on aspects – Employability Enhancement (Skill Development) and Sustainable Employment (Employment Generation) of disadvantaged persons. The Skill Development Project aims to create the demand of skilled workforce of unskilled persons in various waste beneficiation technologies by way of carrying job mapping drives and making the candidates competent and skilled to perform the job. The purpose of this training is to provide a programme for learners that intend to establish or have established a small business. The programme offers entrepreneurial skills to capitalise on opportunities to start and grow sustainable businesses that form part of the mainstream economy in South Africa within the green economy.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Although the South African government have recognized the requirement for green skills development, there is still a need to substantively expand and improve the system capacity for coherent, coordinated green skills development. Use-It identifies problematic waste streams and through research and development provide new technologies, products and markets through the beneficiation of waste. A range of sectors can and must contribute to the Green Economy. It is for this reason that systemic capacity development interventions are necessary across sectors and sub-sectors to reduce gaps or duplication, and to ensure a more strategic approach to producing Green Skills for a Green Economy.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

The project provides communities through education and skills development with environmentally sound management of waste and significantly reduces its release to the land, air and water, in the process minimizing waste’s adverse impact on human health and the environment. Employability Enhancement (Skill Development) and Sustainable Employment (Employment Generation) of disadvantaged persons. The Skill Development Project aims to create the demand of skilled workforce of unskilled persons in various waste beneficiation technologies by way of carrying job mapping drives and making the candidates competent and skilled to perform the job.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Waste Beneficiation skills through training, incubation and mentoring. We track the number of participants in the program, identify the entrepreneur and provide them with business support, mentoring and access to finance and markets to become sustainable employers.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

We create partnerships to provide business support. In specific BusinessFit who has created what we believe is perhaps the first quality assurance B2B Services App in South Africa.. The App has been the result of their 8 years in mentoring Entrepreneurs and helping them to create solid business foundations to support their business ideas and endeavors. The App helps Entrepreneurs through a 5 Star Quality Assurance process, while also creating an online profile for the market to seek and identify new supplier potential.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

Building and maintaining a business framework includes critical foundational aspects like creating appropriate budgets, defining suitable product margins and cashflow requirements, drawing up service level agreements and supplier contracts, appointing staff and creating a human resource management foundation, defining quality assurance standards, policies and procedures. These are not normally the skills understood and held dear by an Entrepreneur. Through the partnership with BusinessFit we would be able to measure the progress of the Entrepreneur and record the number of jobs created.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Some countries and businesses are moving one step further and are identifying principles and strategies that will drive sustainability innovation into the future however, in South Africa green skills are built in response to global and national pressures such as an energy crisis or the resultant need to develop renewable energy we aim to have a competitive advantage and reduce the costs of having to import the new technologies but to develop them locally.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Over the past year we have trained 28 youth from previously disadvantaged groups. Two SME's from this group are being developed and 4 jobs created. The next year will see an additional 43 youth trained in waste beneficiation technologies.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Use-It is currently funded by eThekwini Municipality to cover operational costs. The Hammarsdale Waste Beneficiation Centre sustains its cost through rentals and participation. Funding is sought on a project to project basis. In the long term, the centre should be sustainable through key tenants and product sales.

10. Team

Chris Whyte - Founder and Director Quade Corder - Chairman of the Board Tim Bettany - Operations Manager Belinda Putterill - Office Manager

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Other

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Use-It is a non-profit organisation and we have always ensured that our selection of participants and beneficiaries are from previously disadvantaged people with a focus on women and youth.

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