By: Ayabonga Ngoma
What do you get when you mix a luxury whisky brand, beautiful people, a lush venue and high anticipation for the announcement of the winner of Chivas Regal’s The Venture… one helluva classy, exclusive and inspiring night! For those who don’t know about The Venture, it is Chivas’ annual global search (which is now on year two) to find and support the most promising aspiring social entrepreneurs who have a great idea that has potential of business success whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others. The event took place last week Thursday at the Inanda Club which overlooked the brightly lit Sandton skyline.
My plus one and I arrived to a red carpet welcome, great lighting for photo ops and some bubbly to sweeten us before we went in on the whisky (which was obviously on tap). As much as I was invited to blog about the event. I was also there, squad deep, to support my friend Zweli Gwebityala who was one of the 5 finalists that night. The guests spent the first part of the evening snacking on sushi and easing into meet and greets with creative whisky cocktails. Those who weren’t too keen on the fun flavours stuck to Chivas’ classic offering with just ice.
The mingling was put on hold (for later) when the MC of the night, CNBC Africa’s Nozipho Mabanjwa, called everyone into the venue hall to kick off the proceedings of what we were all there for. The gorgeously smart and witty Nozipho opened with an amazing story of George Bernard Shaw at the Nobel Prize awards and related it to the finalists who she called unreasonable men for wanting to change their communities and possibly the world. She then introduced the speakers of the night which included Design Indaba’s charismatic founder Ravi Naidoo who shared his story and why he chose to be involved with the initiative, Chivas’ Head of Marketing Sibusiso Shangase and Department of Small Business Development representative Vukile Nkabinde who showed his support from government and gave us a new take on chivalry – “chivavary” (It’s something that you have!).
After the speeches, we were introduced to the judging panel who hand-picked the finalists who each answered questions from Nozipho regarding social entrepreneurship and their successes. The final part of the night and the big moment came where all the finalists went up on stage to introduce their big winning ideas (which you can check out on the link below) and had a short interview on their journey to being the top picks in SA. In the end the winner was Jaco Gerrits and his intelligent life saving app, Crash Detect. Jaco will go on to compete with 27 global finalists in New York.
After the winner announcement DJ PH kicked off the after party with some hip and shoulder swishing tunes as dinner and dessert was being served. At this time I got to speak to Sibusiso and asked about how such a socially aware and responsible initiative can boost a brand like Chivas and how important it is to be more than just a profit generating machine but also contribute to the greater good of the world and those who live in it. By the end of the night I had had more than enough of that golden goodness and headed home feeling rather inspired by the people I was surrounded with and the talent that is yet to be discovered in this country. A huge congrats to the finalists, I’m very certain that this kind of platform will give them the necessary exposure in taking their products further.
For info on this initiative and more on the local finalists innovative ideas as well as the global finalists visit www.theventure.com
Ayabonga is just a small town boy, livin’ in Johustleburg. Governed by music. An extroverted introvert. Curious mind, but never nosy. Engineer who is a wannabe creative. Find him on Twitter: @Ayab0nga