2018 saw the second cohort of our Impact Launchpad, an accelerator designed for early-stage social enterprises. This year’s participants came from the health, wellness and fitness sectors and all of theparticipantss came together to hack ideas, learn business processes, and pitch their social enterprises to a live audience. We’re shining a spotlight on our participants! Here’s Melany Andrews and Geluksdal Dance Academy, this year’s winner of the pitch competition!
“Patriotism is the love and devotion for a country, however you can’t love a country without loving the countrymen and countrywomen. We don’t always have to agree, but we must find common ground, we must empower each other, we must build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.”
For us, dancing is that bridge, to connect together and foster social cohesion amongst different ethnicities, gender, class, nationalities, age and disability groups. The Dance Academy is a township-based academy which aims to curtail many of the societal challenges communities face like early teen pregnancies, substance abuse, obesity, low self-esteem, poverty and high unemployment rate to list a few. We believe that an inclusive dance platform will contribute significantly towards the change we wish to see and build stronger and healthier communities.
What inspired you to create your social enterprise?
The author Thomas Paine in his book “Rights of Men” addresses the accountability to allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves and that failure to do so gives birth to social challenges. Growing up in a township and experiencing some of the societal challenges through witnessing and even as a participant made me realise that there is more to life than just being a victim or statistic.
Through the continuous guidance and wisdom bestowed on me by my parents fostered a better self-awareness about the need to care for my fellow neighbour. It is thus that I embarked on initiating the change I wanted to see in society and all this was made possible with the help of role players such as my Parents, Family and Friends, CUDANSA, The South African International Ballet Competition, Soul Dance and Rhythm Academy, The Catholic Church, The Community Councillor and the Community at large.
What did you get out of your Launchpad experience?
I got to be part of a community with likeminded people that operates in the same sector and we had the opportunity to build relationships that can leverage from each other for the success of all.
Do you have future plans for your enterprise?
Indeed, I have plans to scale my enterprise with the objective of reaching more communities which Geluksdal Dance Academy can have positive impact on for the greater good of everyone.
What does impact mean to you?
A powerful force that that brings about positive change.
What big takeaways did you get from the programme?
Wow! A lot to say the least! The Launchpad programme has been impactful in my journey, the learnings, opportunities and even those moments where one would find oneself wondering, how on earth do I solve this problem? However, help was always close, the programme managers together with the mentors made the journey a phenomenal experience.
One other big takeaway and highlight in my journey was when my Social enterprise was announced as the proud winner of the 2018 Launchpad programme for the social impact it has achieved thus far, it reaffirmed to me once again that only good can come from doing good.
What advice do you have for next year’s cohorts?
Do the time, from the start to the end! Try your level best not to miss any lesson, each module is important and comes with impactful learnings.
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