The past year witnessed an explosion in demand for online content as people were forced to stay ‘locked’ up in their homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
MultiChoice responded by collaborating and empowering online content creators to scale up and meet the growing demand, with the MultiChoice Innovation Fund adding eight beneficiaries to its list, all black-majority-owned businesses – helping them to create 47 new jobs.
The eight new beneficiaries are:
- Bubblegum Club, which started off as a cultural intelligence agency and has grown into a digital publication and content production studio.
- Duma Collective, a 100% black female-owned creative communications agency.
- Mzansi Live, a Pan-African independent multimedia management company which developed Mzansi2Cario, a broadcast media marketplace.
- Swypa Deliveries, which uses door-to-door scooters to deliver goods and services for township-based businesses for orders placed through its app.
- The Plug, a 100% independently black woman-owned online publication focusing on all aspects of urban culture.
- The Throne, a 100% black woman-owned boutique agency specialising in influencer marketing, social media strategy, talent management and is the home of The Throne Magazine.
- Whoosh Innovations, a 100% black youth-owned payment solutions provider based in Tshwane.
- Yellowbone Entertainment, a film and television production company, focusing on delivering authentic black South African content to international markets.
The Plug is one of the eight new beneficiaries and has been operating for five years. It is 100% independently black-women-owned and a strictly digital platform focusing on aspects of urban culture such as music and fashion. Its online publication profiles rising and established creatives, artists and mavericks in the industry.
“The Innovation Fund allowed us to focus on growing a really exciting market and [stay] focused on the bigger picture without having to scramble to keep afloat during a challenging time,” says Mercia Tucker, owner and editor of The Plug.
The Plug is aimed at readers between the ages of 18 and 35 with an interest in global outlook on urban culture. Tucker says the platform is designed for an individual with an ear for hip hop and “dabbles in alternative genres, is brand-aware and keeps an eye out for the latest trends but is a vintage connoisseur at heart”.
She says The Plug is profitable because it can minimise and cut “overhead costs” that print publications generally have to wrestle with.
The Plug aims to reshape how South African content is consumed by recognising “the need to provide engrossing content” on local urban culture.
“In order to do so, we had to speak to our market in a way that resonates with them and their consumption.
“The digital media space is not just an accessory to traditional media, it’s the new normal of content consumption and our journey has been a great example of this.”
According to MultiChoice: “The fund’s aim is to fast-track entrepreneurs to industry leadership in the technology, e-commerce, digital content, film and production industries.”
Since its inception in 2016, the fund has invested well over R180 million in more than 25 black-owned enterprises.
Businesses owned by women currently make up over half of the portfolio, and a third are youth-owned.
“South Africans pride themselves on coming up with innovative solutions to today’s challenges,” says Nyiko Shiburi, MultiChoice SA CEO.
“These businesses embody that spirit, and we are proud to support them to bring their dreams to life. Small businesses are vital to our economic growth as they create much needed jobs, that is why our Innovation Fund focuses on this sector.”
Tucker’s partnership with MultiChoice began in 2019. “While the value of the funding is important, much more important is the support that the organisation provides in guiding us as entrepreneurs,” she says.
* Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.