College is a time for figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. As a marketing or business student, you find yourself looking forward to suits, shined shoes and a cubical to call your own. You aim for big clients on the Fortune 500 list, and work with a team of people who expertly craft every pitch – you are after all, taught at every step to think outside of the box.
In Southern Africa, this “box” is very different, which is why we have designed an internship to give Marketing and Business interns a new perspective. This internship started in our South Africa location, working in collaboration with the Hout Bay Partnership as a way to help local entrepreneurs in the townships boost their businesses and create an income for themselves and their families. It was extremely successful, but we found ourselves unable to keep up with demand!
This gave us an opportunity to open the project in a new location, Swaziland. The Kingdom of Swaziland serves as a prime location for this project with over 40% of the population living below the poverty line, the ability to “think outside the box” is a huge asset for local people who are trying to make a living. Starting a business is sometimes the best means to an end, however challenges are also a factor—and in this part of the world there is no such thing as a simple solution. Swazi entrepreneurs we work with may not have any business training, they may not have a smart phone, or understand how to calculate profit. By partnering up our interns with these dedicated business owners, large and small, we create amazingly impactful collaborations for both parties.
“Working together with the people here thought me a lot about different ways of starting and growing a business from zero on the most creative ways with only little to no tools. With that as foundation, we were able to apply our knowledge in business administration to streamline their businesses, in order to help them understand their businesses better, make them more profitable, help them grow or simply support them in executing the ideas they already had. “ Alexander Rhinnes (Business Development Intern)
As an intern on any of our projects, we carefully consider your unique expertise, and pair you with a partner that will allow you to not only teach, but also expand upon your own skills, so you too can grow. This means as a Business Development and Product Design intern you could be working with our own All Out Africa Foundation assisting in micro finance projects, or be partnered with a basket weaver working out of a market stall, or even an internationally recognized company who is already exporting products.
“In this part of the world, different practices will determine the success of this project. What a challenge it was, changing our mind set into a completely different one. Adjusting rapidly, acting quickly, and creating thoroughly. Little did we know that it would result in one of our most exciting tasks of our young, but still challenging lives.” – Kai Vlastra (Micro finance Intern)
This internship has also led to new, exciting relationships for the AOA team, with the collaboration of a local fair trade organization. SWIFT works with Swazi Entrepreneurs to provide training, trade linkages and advocacy of fair trade for their products. They currently work with over 50 local business owners, of all sizes, throughout Swaziland. We have recently teamed up to provide their members with additional support by linking them with some of our interns. In the last year, our interns have been involved in assisting with product development, brand development, book-keeping, marketing strategy and Human Resource consultancy- just to name a few.
“…we also collaborated with SWIFT to make our work more even sustainable. We created templates for business lessons in marketing, bookkeeping, consumer-minded business development, innovation and so on. Templates were discussed, tested, improved, discussed once more, compared and improved even further.” -Melissa De Kant (Business & Development Intern)
In whatever AOA undertakes, sustainability is our overall goal. This is why we accept interns on this project who are self-starters, driven and have the ability to be a partner as a team player. Interns have a flexible schedule, and have the opportunity to develop their own outcomes, decide on their goals with their partner and design a strategy to achieve them. At each step, the collaboration is key.
If you are looking for a challenge to further your career, boost your CV or would just like to experience business on the other side of the world, we would love to see if we could partner with you! To be considered contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and send us your CV!