Alicia English

The Olive Exchange

What does your company do?

The Olive Exchange is a registered publishing company. We believe in the transformative power of storytelling to ignite a love for reading and improve literacy levels among South African children. In a country where the challenge with reading comprehension persists, our purpose is clear: to inspire young minds and foster a lifelong passion for reading through engaging children's books. Our ambition is to become a leading publisher of affordable children's books to schools, libraries and bookstores, and a top provider of professional self-publishing services to independent authors. Statistics are stark. 81% of Grade 4 learners and 56% of Grade 6 learners in South Africa struggle with reading comprehension. (Source: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021) At The Olive Exchange, we're on a mission to change that narrative. Our carefully curated collection of affordable children's books is designed to support educators, librarians and parents in their efforts to improve literacy outcomes for children across the country.

What is your biggest success?

Donating close to 2 000 copies of I Miss Daddy and Ek Mis My Pappa books to under-resourced primary schools in Cape Town.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Managing cashflow and securing enough money to fund more donations of books to more under-resourced primary schools.