In the spirit of Ubuntu and people development, Africawide formed the Africawide Trust in September 2016 with the purpose of assisting beneficiaries to become economically productive citizens of South Africa through community and anti- poverty initiatives. Out of this purpose, the Small Business Development Programme was born, as a way of using the skills, resources and infrastructure that Africawide Consulting already possess in order to upskill and support small black-owned businesses. The Small Business Development Progra mme was advertised through social media and within the Africawide network, who in turn shared it with their own networks, and where entrepreneurs were invited to apply to be part of this inaugural programme.
A large number of applications were received and through a series of pre-‐requisite assessments and interviews, the applications were whittled down to five. The five successful candidates displayed various business skills as well as enthusiasm and passion for what they did, which echoed the Africawide narrative. The successful candidates came from various industries which included media, funeral services and education
As part of the Africawide values, we wanted to welcome the entrepreneurs to the family through an official launch event. The Africawide Foundation Trust’s small business development programme was officially launched on 9 June 2017 in a glamorous event held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The evening celebrated the inaugural class of entrepreneurs for 2017/2018 and highlighted the ambitions of the programme, the Trust and the entrepreneurs. The launch evening witnessed an exceptional keynote address from Ms Zipho Sikhakhane where she spoke on the importance of entrepreneurs within the South African landscape.
Guests were treated to an in-depth panel discussion comprising three impressive figures within the business and entrepreneurship space, namely: Ms Zipho Sikhakhane, Mr Musa Kalenga and Mr George Chirwa, where great advice, insights and wisdom were shared with the audience. The event showcased the inaugural entrepreneurs, their businesses as well as their hopes and aspirations for the programme as well as their own personal aspirations.
The Small Business Development Programme is intent on assisting its entrepreneurs to achieve sustainable business practices through guidance, support and mentorship, and through our own network, we were able to identify and pair each entrepreneur with mentors best suited to provide a sustainable and beneficial business relationship.
The entrepreneurs have shown exceptional passion, determination and drive to make each of their businesses succeed, which has made it easy for Africawide to see the value in this programme and in providing each of these businesses with the support, training, advice, infrastructure and guidance.
The Small Business Development Programme is structured in a manner that enables interactive learning within the class, through our facilitators acting as the spark for discussions and debates outside the classroom. The training provided is in the form of three modules, and covers core components of business, namely: Entrepreneurship and Preparing a Business Plan, Managing the Finance of a Business and Managing Human Resources with classroom contact sessions accounting for four hours a month, whilst personal development sessions (mentorship/networking) account for two hours a month. Classroom contact sessions have been a great source of debate and interaction between the facilitator and entrepreneurs and allows for a creative and safe platform that has enabled mind- set shifts and new ways of thinking, all whilst maintaining the aim of creating sustainable businesses through support and guidance.
The journey of the Africawide Trust Foundation has been a memorable one, and I am proud to be associated with the programme, the materials, the facilitation and the entrepreneurs who have all played a vital role in this initiative and who will continue to support and guide the Small Business Development Programme to where it becomes a premier business incubation programme.
As Africawide we are proud to be involved in initiatives that support development of SMMEs. I look forward to seeing the Programme and the Africawide Trust Foundation grow from strength to strength, whilst producing not only economically sustainable businesses, but captains of industry and business powerhouses.