The Beehive Centre For Social Enterprise is a locally managed and governed project that acts as a hub of support so that entrepreneurs in Malawi can start new businesses. They all act as not-for-profits, with all surpluses generated being ploughed back into the enterprises and into projects that meet wider social need, such as the John Paul 11 Leadership and IT Training Academy due to open September 2011 and the Mother Teresa Children's Centre which is currently being constructed. The Beehive Centre For Social Enterpise. So named because the community wanted a busy 'hive of activity' Beehive now employs over 450 people and has trained hundreds more.
Beehive has seven major components:
The central hub of support offers buildings, administrative and HR support to all the other functions. Beehive also makes sure that each and every worker is offered a meal everyday they work. Beehive is managed by Peter Nkata, an inspirational leader who supports all of his team to develop the skills needed to build organisations.
2- Small Enterprise Development Throughout 2011 we will be developing BeeBiz, a business incubation zone in the heart of Chilomoni. It'll be an eclectic mixture of purpose built workshops and converted shipping containers. BeeBiz will ensure the continued growth of the small enterprises, but already up and running are:
BeeBooks- sells books to knowledge hungry local residents at a very affordable price. All books are donated by schools, churches, libraries and members of the public from across the UK. Thousands of books are given away free to schools in Chilomoni, but BeeBooks helps to generate funds to support the projects. It is based in a little shop on the Chilomoni High Street and is always full of locals wanting to improve their reading in English and just enjoy some good stories!
BeeBikes- sells bikes to locals. Car ownership is out of the question for the majority of Malawians, so owning a bicycle is a sustainable local transport solution. The bikes are all donated from organisations and individuals in the UK, when they arrive in Malawi they are given a full overhaul by Mike and his team at BeeBikes who all earn an income through the project. Surpluses generated by BeeBikes are all reinvested into the projects, for example the sale of a bike could help to fund day care for an orphan or vulnerable child in the Children's Centre
Tailoring and Knitwear Training- The first of the Beehive Enterprises! Sewing Machines are donated from the UK and budding tailors attend a variety of training courses lasting from three months to two years. Once trained, the tailors have the chance to earn a self-employed income for life working on the machine which they are able to purchase very cheaply from Beehive/
3- Torrent Computer Rentals Torrent now employs a large team of Beehive trained PC Engineers, who work along with the sales and marketing team to rent affordable computer systems to schools, business, hospitals etc across Malawi. With office locations in Blantyre and now also Lilongwe, Torrent still support project beneficiaries in Chilomoni through the reinvestment of profits into community projects and training of local employees.
4- Torrent Plant and Vehicle Hire Throughout all of the construction projects we were continually frustrated by the lack of heavy plant, with support from JCB in Rocester we have shipped 6 machines so far, along with other machinery and vehicles. These now form the backbone of Torrent rentals, making machinery available to other construction projects in Malawi- of course it's all not-for-profit!
5- Design and Construction Of course it would have been far easier to sub-contract all of the building work for the Chilomoni projects, but that would not have provided prospects and opportunities to people in Chilomoni, so we've done it the hard way! Using the construction of a large Priests House part-funded by Park House Trust as our "construction classroom" Beehive has grown a team of skilled architects, engineers, foremen and labourers sometimes as many as 350 at any one time. They are busily building the training academy, the children's centre, admin units and a refectory as well as new staff and volunteers housing. At the end of the Beehive building, they'll be all set up to operate a stand-alone social enterprise, tendering for work across the region.
6- John Paul II Leadership and IT Training Academy Beehive is choosing to focus it's training specialism on information technology and launches new training courses in the JPII LITA when it opens officially in September 2011. The academy is currently headed by a UK volunteer, Jan Daines is a dedicated head teacher and is designing a curriculum designed to attract hundreds of students to train in state of the art facilities in the 15 classroom academy.
7- Mother Teresa Children's Centre Designed by skilled and experienced UK architects, we aim to complete the build of this vital and exciting children's centre fully by December 2011. We currently have two wonderful UK volunteers delivering a 12month training course to 75 eager early years carers, so that they are able to support the 250 children who will be able to access full day care to achieve their full potential. The day care enables parents to access work and training at Beehive. We also hope the centre will offer family support, community outreach projects such as a toy library and even some early years health services. We know that children learn best through play, so there will be plenty of that too!