Entrepreneurs and small business owners that have set up and are running green businesses are invited to take part in a 10-month scholarship opportunity at one of South Africa’s top business schools. The programme runs from the end of November 2017 until September 2018 and allows entrepreneurs to develop business acumen and build critical business skills while continuing to develop their enterprises.
Acting director of the Gordon Institute of Business Science’s (GIBS) Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) Sam N. Ngcolomba says: “Our focus is on addressing the high failure rates of entrepreneurs in South Africa by supporting startups, micro enterprises and small business owners that are under constraint. The green economy is one of our priority sectors. This scholarship allows entrepreneurs providing solutions and services in the green economy to run their business and enjoy a practical business management education.
“To date, we have supported one hundred entrepreneurs in developing their businesses into more profitable and sustainable enterprises that contribute to greening the economy and to local economic development in SA. We provide practical entrepreneurial academic support, mentorship and coaching and help facilitate access to markets and finance.”
Ngcolomba explains that: “Our objective is to support entrepreneurs at their time of need. Our programme is not training for training’s sake. It is a targeted and goal-orientated programme that contributes to preserving our precious resources in South Africa and to building SMEs and creating jobs.”
Fazlyn Toeffie, senior manager for marketing and client engagement at GIBS, says: “Known as the Small Business Boost 2.0 programme, entrepreneurs that have been in operation for two years or more are invited to apply.”
Toeffie outlines other key selection criteria:
- The green economy scholarship programme is open to entrepreneurs based in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu-Natal provinces.
- The only financial requirement for entrepreneurs is a commitment fee, which is refundable upon completion of the programme.
- A total of 100 scholarships are available and selection is taking place on a first-come-first-serve basis.
- No applications after 31 October 2017 will be considered and only South African citizens and permanent South African residents can participate.
- The business must have at least three full-time people. The business owner that attends programme must work in the business full-time and have a minimum of 35% shareholding.
- Annual revenue can be anything from R200 000 to R2-million.
Says Toeffie: “Entrepreneurs that have been through the programme cite being able to manage change better, work more effectively with big business supply chains, secure finance more easily and manage people and projects more profitably. Most entrepreneurs exit the programme having identified strategic growth opportunities and armed with a clear strategy for their ongoing development.”
Toeffie explains that the green economy is where a lot of potential lies for SMEs, but because it is a capital-intensive sector, growing businesses can experience constraints. She says raising finance in this sector is also difficult.
The Gauteng Small Business Boost programme will take place at GIBS in Johannesburg while venues for the other provinces are still being confirmed. There will be no need for selected entrepreneurs in the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu-Natal to travel outside of their provinces.
Shortlisted candidates who meet the selection criteria will be contacted for an interview before the announcement of the 100 scholarship recipients is made.
Entrepreneurs that apply and have not been contacted by the end of October should consider their applications as unsuccessful but are welcome to apply again with the next intake.