Business Skills Boost For 1000 Western Cape Entrepreneurs

Emerging entrepreneurs from across the Western Cape are encouraged to apply for an accredited business skills training programme.

One thousand small and medium sized businesses will be given an opportunity to complete the Emerging Business Support programme over the next six months. A lack of business support skills has been identified as a key reason why only three percent of start-ups survive beyond 3 years in South Africa, according to the GEM study. This initiative seeks to address this problem.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, and ABSA this morning (20 June 2016) launched the second phase of the province’s Emerging Business Support Programme at the Century City Convention Centre.

Minister Winde said the programme was in line with the Western Cape Government’s number one strategic objective – the creation of jobs and economic growth.

“Entrepreneurs are the engine room of our economy, employing over 500 000 people in the Western Cape. As government, it is our role to create the environment for businesses to add jobs to the economy. In the past seven years, we’ve assisted over 36 000 entrepreneurs to start businesses. Part of creating that environment is giving entrepreneurs the support they need to grow. That is why in this financial year, the Integrated Economic Development Services is investing over R40 million in interventions such as the Emerging Business Support Programme. We’re thrilled to have private sector partners such as ABSA, who are collaborating with us for the second year, to give businesses the tools they need to grow,” said Minister Winde.

It is a joint initiative between the Provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism and ABSA.

The two-day course starts in July and runs until December. Workshops will take place in the Cape Metro, the West Coast, the Cape Winelands, Eden and the Overberg.

Minister Winde said the course, which will be presented ABSA facilitators, will cover Business Strategy Development, Operations Strategy Development and Financial Literacy Development.

To participate in the programme businesses, should:

  • Be registered and operational;
  • Be operating within the Western Cape;
  • Have a valid BEE certificate.

Once selected, business owners are expected to attend both days.

Minister Winde said during the first phase of the Emerging Business Support Programme, just over 1000 entrepreneurs participated.

“The feedback we have received from entrepreneurs who completed the course last year has been very encouraging. Business owners said they now have the knowledge and the confidence they need to take their enterprise to the next level,” said Minister Winde.

Doug Walker, Managing Executive for Absa Western Cape, said: “At Absa we recognize the vital role SME’s play in economic growth and job creation and are delighted to be partnering with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape SMME Project.

“The accredited business skills training programme will empower 1 000 SMMEs across the Western Cape with 45 credits towards an NQF level 4 qualification. We recognize that SME’s need more than just funding to succeed – they also face other challenges and experience a high failure rate mainly due to a lack of business, management and financial skills.  As a result, a lot of funding advanced to SME’s under a number of our programmes, such as the Absa Supplier Development Programme, is linked to a non-financial support package to improve the owners’ business and financial management skills, and to provide them with networking opportunities,” explained Walker.

“Small businesses often struggle to penetrate existing markets, or create new ones, especially when competing against more established and bigger business. As such, Absa is committed to developing sustainable SME’s by linking them into the supply chains of big corporates in both the private and public sectors. We believe access to markets is an SME’s biggest challenge; after all, a business without customers cannot succeed. Absa endeavors to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way,” added Walker.

A detailed schedule of the course and application forms will be released later this week. For more information, business owners can contact:

  • Gordon Sharman on 021 816 4123 or Odette Daries on 021 483 9114.