Kuyasa wins Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Awards

Kuyasa is an often used case study in developing an understanding of financial services, asset building and housing solutions for the poor.

  • In 2008 Kuyasa won a UN Habitat Award for Best Practises in Housing
  • In 2010 Olivia van Rooyen won the South African Social Entrepreneur Award (Ernst and Young, the Schwab Foundation and the World Economic Forum)
  • In 2010 Kuyasa won a Microfinance Recognition award for the Innovative use of Technology (Hansonwade)

South African Microfinance Institution WINS prestigious

Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Award



[Johannesburg/Cape Town]  – Olivia van Rooyen, Executive Director of the Kuyasa Fund has won the prestigious Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Award 2010. Van Rooyen accepted the award for her work with the Kuyasa Fund, a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1999.


About the award: Ernst & Young’s World Entrepreneur Awards are the world’s most prestigious business awards for entrepreneurs. Held on an annual basis, the awards are designed to encourage entrepreneurial activity whilst recognizing the contributions of those who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievements.


Van Rooyen was honored at the gala, taking home the award in the Social Entrepreneurship category. This award honors those innovators who implement practical and sustainable solutions that achieve unprecedented  social change.  


About The Kuyasa Fund:

Van Rooyen founded the Kuyasa Fund as a means of bringing housing loans/financing within reach of those South Africans deemed un-bankable by the formal credit sector.  With limited access to capital many low-income South Africans are unable to renovate or expand upon their 23m2 government issued dwellings, and thus are forced to reside in units that are too small to meet their most basic needs.


Kuyasa’s work emerges from the belief that poor and low-income people are credit-worthy and should therefore be extended financial services. The Fund administers loans for home improvements and uses microfinance as a tool to help clients leverage their current circumstances, build sustainable homes, grow equity and institute strong cohesive communities.


Van Rooyen is the driving force behind the Kuyasa Fund, overseeing the NGO from conception, and through the current rapid expansion. Since it’s inception, the Kuyasa Fund has disbursed over R103m in microfinance loans; this translates into 23,553 loans to some 18,325 clients.  The Fund serves communities in the Western and Eastern Cape, with fourteen Customer Service Centers (based in various townships) and six Branches, all of which are access points for Kuyasa clients.


The Kuyasa Fund goes beyond serving it’s clients; Olivia has made a concerted effort to also empower her employees.  Of the 103 employees working at Kuyasa, females represent 61% of the staff composite. The Fund is a women run organization. Furthermore, the majority of Kuyasa employees are recruited from the locations in which the Fund operates and trained with the necessary skills to work within the microfinance sector. The development and growth of employees is crucial to the organization, and employees have the opportunity to further their education with Kuyasa’s support.

With Van Rooyen at the helm, The Kuyasa Fund is making great advancements, affecting change and impacting the lives of many South African’s both economically and socially.

Copyright @Kuyasa Housing Finance Company