The Debut Graduation on Friday 19 November marked the end of the second phase for the Programme’s participants. The support given to the participants has manifested through online immersive workshops, mentoring, networking opportunities, promotional events, as well as R15 000 start-up capital for each participant during the Kickstarter and Hlanganisa phases of the Debut Programme.
The Graduation was an opportunity to acknowledge and reward the efforts of the 137 programme participants. These are those who completed the Programme modules in both the Kickstarter and Hlanganisa phases, as well as the 120 who have successfully launched their creative business ventures online. The event also offered the chance to celebrate the Provincial Liaisons and Facilitators, who have been steadfast in their support of each Programme participant, demonstrating consistent commitment to uplifting the creative collective.
As Debut Programme participant Zan Mngaza says, “When I joined the programme, I expected to be introduced into a family of wealth in terms of knowledge, power, resilience, positivity, and of course money. I don’t think there’s any other program[me] in the country that can do that for. I was able to see a clear vision and navigation of my business even in this pandemic, where a lot of my fellow artists are struggling.”
In addition to the graduates’ send-off, Friday’s event witnessed the launch of Debut’s Alumni Network, created to provide long-term value for the Debut Programme alumni by establishing a community of creative collaborators, who will connect, support one another, and offer shared learnings.
The Network will be in the form of an online hub, where BASA and the alumni will share content related to local events and news, as well as funding opportunities. The Network will be self-governing and driven by the same alumni recently recognised by the Debut Programme as champions within their own communities.
“I never thought I would one day be the owner of (a) business as an artist. But today I am proud to stand in front of people and introduce myself as the owner. The way I view my art completely changed, I now understand the business side of the art, the administration side, and the entertainment side of it. But the best lesson is the importance of collaborating with other businesses to sustain my business.” – Debut Programme Graduate, Lucy Mbali
The final 18 candidates who will proceed to the Catalyst Phase will be announced in February 2022 and will go on to complete an intensive year-long incubation process to take their businesses to the next level. This second iteration of the full Debut Programme will then be complete.