BY: Mpofu Sthandile.

Food Lover’s Market, South Africa’s largest privately owned retailer, is launching the Seeds of Change Supplier Development Partnership for the third consecutive year. This programme is an opportunity for aspiring social entrepreneurs to join the company as a supplier, and entries open on 13 March 2023 and close on 17 April 2023.

Terri Coppin-Harris, Culture and Communication Manager for the Food Lover’s Market Group, says,“We are deeply passionate about our communities, and Seeds of Change is a natural extension of this.”

Food Lover’s Markert launched the Seeds of Change Supplier Development Partnerships as part of the retailers’ impetus to be the best store in the community it serves. The retailer understands that there is a need to source local suppliers, specifically small businesses, that have integrated social change at the heart of their operation. Says Coppin-Harris, “We realise that there is a big gap between launching a product and then being able to scale up through the engine of a big retailer like Food Lover’s Market. Seeds of Change connects those dots while enabling us to discover exciting fresh products and services that will delight our customers.|”

“This is an opportunity to create employment and make a social impact across South Africa. We are looking for suppliers that mirror these socially focused values, are passionate about retail and are motivated to deliver the best quality product or service.”

As an emerging sector, social enterprises provide an opportunity to solve many of the prevalent social and environmental problems in South Africa while contributing to economic growth and job creation. Unfortunately, this sector is still not prioritised as a key driver in the South African economy. Food Lover’s Market aims to challenge this mindset by presenting a unique opportunity for social enterprises to become part of the corporate supply chain.

While applications open on Monday, 13 March 2023, a free-to-attend introductory webinar will be held on 22 March 2023 – this webinar is designed to assist aspiring applicants in asking any questions about the application process.

Says Coppin-Harris, “Over the last few years, it’s been an honour to partner with these remarkable businesses and see the social impact they make on a local level. It speaks directly to the core values of Food Lover’s Market, and their dedication to social impact, quality and innovation are critical to achieving a more sustainable economy.”

Top Ten Bootcamp

The top ten will be announced on 15 May 2022 and will attend a four-day Bootcamp between 19 and 22 June 2023 at the Old Biscuit Mill. In this Bootcamp, they will receive the guidance, mentorship and necessary skills to market their business. They will also be exposed to a macro view of the global and South African retail landscape, including trends, challenges and opportunities within the sector. The top ten businesses will then do a final “Fertile Ground” pitch to the Food Lover’s Market board on 23 June 2023 – the successful applicant will be announced on the same day.

Qualifying Criteria

Food Lover’s Market is interested in social enterprises that, at the core of their business, positively impact their communities. The retailer also intends to prioritise applications from businesses that will add value to the Food Lover’s Market shopping experience. These include smallholder farmers, freight businesses, commercial services, and produce and products that sit within in-store departments such as bakery, confectionery, groceries and liquor.

Some of the requirements to apply include:

  • The business should be operational for 12 months.
  • The business should show financial stability.
  • The business should have a business Plan showcasing successful implementation.

Seeds of Change will be facilitated by the Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), which is the foremost specialist learning and development organisation supporting social change organisations in South Africa. With a proven track record globally, SEA has extensive experience with social enterprise models from South Africa and around the world.

Concludes Coppin-Harris, “We have seen some exciting businesses come through in the last two years and discovered a few social enterprise gems – we believe this year will be no different. Anyone who owns a business with social impact and a retail product suitable to be sold at a Food Lover’s Market should consider entering. If you have any hesitation, consider joining the webinar on 22 March as it will certainly clear up any questions you may have.”

Applications close on 17 April 2023, and the Top 20 successful applicants will be notified by 25 April 2023. Interested social enterprises may apply online via


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