Green Economy Octopus Garden
Photo Credit: Ian Dommisse

Ian Dommisse and the Grow SA team are excited to open the new intakes for the 2024 Grow SA Learnership Programme, and you may know the perfect candidate!


Cape Town, South Africa (04 July 2024) – Opportunities in the green economy are growing as more companies take on initiatives to boost their own efforts in making the planet a better place. However, having people well-versed in the green economy is also essential which is what GrowSA is doing.

A green economy aims to reduce environmental risks and ecological scarcities and aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment.

GrowSA was launched in 2021 after a few years of work between Ian Dommisse, the creator of the famous Octopus Garden, and the then-V&A Waterfront head of CSI Henry Mathys. They connected their teams, but when the pandemic struck, they met every Tuesday on Zoom for 12 weeks and co-created a six-month green economy learnership programme.

“Before Covid I had established the Octopus Garden and ran two Urban Farming short courses within the garden. So we used that course as a starting point and developed it into a skills and human development programme.

We kicked off in 2021 and have now completed three cohorts of, on average, eight entrepreneurs from different parts of the green economy.

The programme works similarly to a scholarship in that the candidates don’t have to pay for it. The V&A is our flagship sponsor, and we have a range of smaller sponsors.”

The programme has been successful, with many candidates working through it and coming out the other side with new skills and dreams to forge forward in their careers or build businesses.

The programme consists of ten components, lasting six months with a six-week break during December. It doesn’t guarantee a job at the end, but it does guarantee a community of supportive, like-minded individuals and a new set of valuable skills.

“While the programme runs over a period of 6 months it has been adapted to allow candidates to still run their businesses/projects and is rarely more than 2 days a week” 

“Candidates who graduate become Grow SA Alumni and continue to gain learning and other opportunities.

“The programme takes place across more than 15 venues across Cape Town and the surrounding farming areas – though we use central meeting points to gather”

Ian shares that the programme is practically orientated and uses a ‘learn by doing’ approach. Now, they just need to find the perfect candidates for the next intake. Could it be you or a green hero that inspires you? Ian shared a detailed blog post about the programme in 2022 which is still relevant today so if you want more details about the programme find them here.

Who’s eligible to apply:

  • South Africans (or foreign nationals with valid work permits) living within the Cape Town metropolitan area who have a proven track record for urban farming, running a soup kitchen, or any project or business that contributes to food production in a socially and environmentally friendly way.
  • Their project/business needs to have been in operation for at least two years.
  • They need to be an active member within the project/business
  • They need to be at least 20 years of age and able-bodied
  • While previously disadvantaged applicants are given preference, all applications are welcome.

How do they apply:

By following the below link and sending supporting photos via email to

Sources: Ian Dommisse
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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