While much is said about the need for SA to cultivate and support entrepreneurs, it is unfortunately a reality that many businesses and start-ups simply don’t survive in our tough local environment.
The Legends programme provides sponsored business support, mentorship and a supportive community that allows its participants to successfully navigate challenges to success.
SA a tough environment for ‘treps
Despite the enormous focus placed on encouraging entrepreneurial activities in SA, thousands of dreams continue to be shattered as SMEs falter and fail.
The main reason for this, says business expert Catherine Wijnberg, is because entrepreneurs tend to follow their passion but often never stop to learn the actual nitty-gritty of running a successful business.
Wijnberg is head of Fetola, an enterprise development company that is currently accepting applications for its sponsored Legends business development programme for 2013.
Wijnberg says that while a good business idea, and a passion for and knowledge of the sector in which one operates are extremely important to ensure the success of SMEs, chances of survival are slim if it is not built on sound business fundamentals.
Learn business principles
These fundamentals are pretty consistent across industries, and easily learnt with some commitment on the part of the business leader, she says.
“You may be the best ‘techie’ in the world, but if you are clueless about marketing, proper systems and human resources considerations, you are going to struggle to accomplish business viability.
“In any business, it is imperative that those steering the ship have a solid understanding of strategic planning, basic financial management, costing and pricing, marketing and sales, and people management,” says Wijnberg.
Join a community of ‘treps
It is very useful for young and growing businesses to become part of a community – like Legends – to get mutual support and access to opportunities. Participating businesses that qualify for Legends can get access to lucrative corporate supply chains who are increasingly seeking to engage with emerging businesses.
“It can be very lonely trying to make a small business work, when you don’t have others with whom you can share ideas. Often people know where they should be headed, but they just need someone knowledgeable on their side as a ‘sounding board’ to test their ideas and get input from.”
Apply to become a legend
Wijnberg encourages all SMEs and non-profits to apply for the 2013 Legends programme as soon as possible, as space for participation is limited.
Applicants go through a selection process and those successful could have a suite of resources and mentors at hand to help them do better business in 2013.
Who can apply?
The programme is open to businesses and non-profits from all sectors throughout SA. Wijnberg says Legends is one of the only enterprise development programmes designed to assist businesses from rural areas.
“We have tried to make the programme as inclusive as possible in order to help as many organisations as we can. We do not restrict our selection to businesses run by HDI’s, but a business must be able to motivate how it stands to make a difference in its community by, for instance, local upliftment or job creation.
The Legends programme offers beneficiaries a proven combination of workshops and e-learning sessions, access to resources, mentoring and coaching, and networking.
Where to apply
For more information and details on the programme, or to register, go to www.fetola.co.za and submit applications before January 7, 2013. You must apply online.