Survivalist entrepreneurs represent a significant portion of the emerging SME market in the country.
However, the growth and development of these survivalist businesses is currently being stifled, as many of them do not understand the broader ideas that are required for enterprise sustainability, and have a narrow and short term view of business development.
The Vuka Mentorship Programme, which is a structured enterprise development initiative, is helping to change this situation by assisting corporate companies in cultivating SMEs that can supply products or services within their local communities.
Sharon Reed, CEO of Neosho119, which runs the Vuka Mentorship Programme explains further: “Through a structured, verifiable and measured approach, The Vuka Mentorship Programme is engaging with corporate businesses to help numerous entrepreneurs shift their business mindset and implement measures which will make their enterprises more sustainable. Subsequently, the programme is helping to significantly grow the community supplier base of corporate companies.”
Through various corporate partnerships, including Nedbank and the Gauteng Province, the programme has already reached over 2 400 aspiring entrepreneurs in the past year.
Nonhlanhla Nocobo, one of the entrepreneurs currently participating in the Vuka Mentorship Programme, notes how the programme has helped further the development of her fashion design business.
“The Vuka Mentorship Programme has taught me to not solely focus on the development of my product, but to examine the market more holistically. Subsequently, this has allowed me to gain a broader understanding of my market’s demands, and offer a service which better meets these needs.”
Another entrepreneur who has participated in the programme, Sylvester Falata, adds that the programme has helped him to acquire a fundamental shift in business mindset.
“Through participating in the Vuka Mentorship Programme, my business goals have shifted from just wanting to make money at the end of the month, to aspiring to grow a sustainable business that will contribute to job creation within my own community.”
Reed notes that corporate companies who participate in The Vuka Mentorship Programme are assured that their BEE goals will be furthered, owing to the Programme’s auditable process.
“We’re currently the only mentorship programme in South Africa to provide a verified audited trial when BEE rating agency, Empowerdex asks for documentation. This service allows the rating the programme is one of the few ways that corporate companies can ensure that their BEE spend is not wasted and will assist in furthering South Africa’s transformation objectives and grow sustainable entrepreneurs.”
She concludes that corporate companies partnering with the Vuka Mentorship Programme are also assured of making a difference to South Africa’s long term development.