Luvuyo and Nodumo Jongile, the founders of South Africa's first black-owned gin brand Mayine Gin, have been named as the recipients of the country's first known gin bursary. As the winners, the husband and wife team from Khayelitsha is awarded a R100,000 bursary to help grow their business, culminating in a trip to London's Juniperlooza Festival next year on World Gin Day.
Jean Buckham from The Gin Box with Mayine Gin's Luvuyo Jongile.
"The SA Gin Business Bursary is the first of its kind, not just in South Africa, but in Africa, from what we know. And it will be the first of many, as we plan to support one up-and-coming artisan within the gin industry every year within this programme," explains the idea originator and donor, Jean Buckham, owner of SA's craft gin club, The Gin Box.
The R100,000 will cover a variety of sponsorship funding and skills development across craft gin with some of the industry's leading distillers, as well an integrated entrepreneur development programme from Startup School valued at R19,000, four sponsored marketing and sales trips to Johannesburg, gin industry festival and expo tickets, attendance at all Cape Town's Heavy Chef marketing seminars, one-on-one social media and PR training, and a video rig to document his journey online.
Launched on World Gin Day, 9 June, in which Jongile attended his first promotional event with The Gin Box in Illovo, Johannesburg, the bursary will conclude 12 months later as he will be flown all-expenses paid to the world-famous gin festival, Juniperlooza, and mix with some of the world's biggest names in gin. His journey and his progress will be shared internationally.
Luvuyo Jongile explains, "I am so excited to receive this support in so many areas of development. To continue to improve and perfect my gins will be one thing, but to receive the guidance in how to grow my business quickly and improve my marketing is another. Nationwide and international exposure is something that I simply didn't expect."
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Buckham adds, "Since we launched ten months ago, we have seen gin explode in South Africa – there are 140 gin brands already – and our subscription boxes delivered nationwide have been sold out every month bar one, since we started in August 2017. Throughout, our philosophy has been to play around with spontaneous ideas, and stretch ourselves, and with this bursary, so many people have jumped on board to support Luvoyo and take his great talent to new heights. It's going to be a super year ahead for him," she concludes.
Jongile concludes, " I can't imagine where I will be in a year's time and what will unfold. It's great to see an African gin make it. And the warm reception we have received thus far has been overwhelming, we even receiving love as far as European and American countries. When Mayine Gin makes it, it will mean job creation and skills development. The support we have been getting across the country has been truly phenomenal and this is exactly what up-and-coming businesses need at the moment.”
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