- Player: Deon Herbst
- Position: CEO
- Company: Enterprises University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd
- Visit: www.enterprises.up.ac.za
Few people would disagree that ongoing learning is more important than ever, but how does one make time for it? How do you fit studying into an already hectic schedule?
The good news is that upskilling oneself is easier than ever and need not be as time-consuming as you might imagine. Not only is information easier to access than before, but courses are now available that make studying very accessible and achievable, even for busy business people.
Entrepreneur spoke to Enterprises University of Pretoria CEO Deon Herbst about ongoing learning for entrepreneurs.
Why is continued learning important for entrepreneurs?
New developments are occurring at a rapid rate, technology is evolving and information is becoming more readily available in real-time settings.
With the significant changes that recent years have brought to the career landscape, the responsibility to upskill, empower yourself and build a workforce with ‘future-proof’ skills has shifted to you, the individual, and you need to make sure that your skills are on par with your ambition.
What kind of continued learning is beneficial to entrepreneurship?
Empowering emerging entrepreneurs is a national requirement and key to the sustainability of any enterprise. For example, courses equipping entrepreneurs with supplier development solutions to grow and support SMEs are extremely beneficial.
Big organisations now have the opportunity to invest in the skills development of SMEs, and receive greater incentives for buy-back of goods and services once these suppliers have been upskilled to meet their requirements.
In return, SMEs are able to supply quality goods and services and the right technical skills to create the vital link of empowered suppliers.
Entrepreneurs are busy people, so how can they continue their learning while still running businesses?
Online learning is flexible and accessible — you can literally access learning programmes anywhere at any time — perfect for on-the-go entrepreneurs.
Many professionals struggle to find the time to attend formal training sessions, but would still like to continue improving their knowledge and skills. Because of this, it is important to find a solution that makes learning as easy and accessible as possible.
For instance, our courses offer integrated online learning environments that optimise global participation. We’ve also recently launched a mobile app that provides a one-stop interactive information service. You can select a course, enrol, pay and track your skills development goals — all on your phone via our app.
What do you consider to be a realistic goal in terms of continued learning?
Take a systematic approach. If you are starting out with a new venture, look at a course that will equip you with skills to start a business and manage it to reach unchartered growth.
If you have a business that has been running for a while, and you realise the need and benefits of using technology for your business, look into a course that will provide you with opportunities to understand technology better and how it can assist you in growing your business.
Can you tell us a bit about the sort of courses that are available for people looking to study while working? What sort of courses would you recommend?
It’s important to offer courses that address the specific needs of an industry. To be truly useful to a professional, a course needs to deal with the specifics of his or her industry.
A professional shouldn’t sign up for some broad, general course, but should instead enrol in something that will meet their immediate workplace needs.
For this reason, we offer a very wide range of courses, from agriculture and food sciences to engineering, law, economics and, of course, business management and entrepreneurship.
What, in your opinion, should be the ultimate goal of any course?
We believe that any offering should translate into increased productivity and enhanced customer service excellence. In order for any course to be worthwhile to the individual enrolled and his or her company, it should offer high-quality, customised and practical solutions that make a real-world difference to day-to-day operations.
Apart from enrolling in study programmes, what other strategies would you suggest for those trying to improve their knowledge?
Never underestimate the importance of solid research. By putting science into practice, it can produce business solutions that translate into increased productivity, enhanced customer service and improved business optimisation.
Thanks to the fast-moving pace of the modern business world, ongoing learning is becoming increasingly important. Those who don’t keep themselves at the forefront of development will eventually struggle to compete.