According to Statistics SA, the unemployment rate in South Africa was reported at 23.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011. A figure that can be significantly reduced through the mentorship and development of entrepreneurs in South Africa says Sharon Reed, CEO of Neosho119.
Moreover, Reed is hoping to reduce that statistic through the implementation of a mentoring programme which she herself devised. The Vuka Mentorship Programme is focused on ensuring that the widespread development of small business enterprises in South Africa is considerably accelerated, therefore, not only aiding job creation but adding to the country’s GDP growth as well.
Reaching aspiring entrepreneurs
Since its inception in 2010, The Vuka Mentorship Programme has already encountered considerable success in ensuring mass mentorship, having reached over 738 aspiring entrepreneurs over the past year, through its partnerships with Nedbank and the Gauteng Province. The Nedbank programme has also mentored 240 entrepreneurs during the same period.
Reed designed and developed The Vuka Mentorship Programme after spending many years informally mentoring entrepreneurs in the township and rural areas of South Africa.
“Through my dealings with the entrepreneurs, I realised that they weren’t being assessed up front to determine whether they had the capacity to be in business or the potential to be mentored to become better business owners. There was clearly a need for a tool that could help survivalist businesses and entrepreneurs become more sustainable.”
Assisting corporates to reach SMEs
The programme is also assisting numerous corporate companies in cultivating SMEs that can supply products or services within their local communities. Uniquely, it is the only programme which enables companies to track entrepreneur investments, while measuring how an entrepreneur is being developed.
Reed therefore maintains that the The Vuka Mentorship Programme offers corporate South Africa the perfect opportunity to assist in furthering economic growth in the country.
“The Vuka Mentorship Programme has the potential to create a wide range of small world class businesses, which will not only result in increased employment, but will also increase the supplier bases of many local corporate companies,” says Reed.
“Therefore, I urge corporate companies to partner with our Programme, as ultimately, it will assist greatly in positioning South Africa as a major force on the world stage.”
Adding real value
Reed concludes that she firmly believes that The Vuka Mentorship Programme has the potential to add even more value to the development of local SMMEs.
“23.9% is a percentage that does not sit well with me as I have no doubt of the considerable entrepreneurial talent which exists in South Africa. Therefore, it is my goal to ensure more corporate support of The Vuka Mentorship Programme, which in turn helps them fulfil their requirements of the Codes of Enterprise.
“Their support will allow us to incorporate even more entrepreneurs into the programme, uplift skills development, positively contribute to job creation, and ultimately help to create sustainable business entities. I have no doubt this support will go a long way to decreasing the unemployment rate and assisting poverty alleviation in the country.”