In an effort to fight the challenges of poverty, unemployment and remoteness of rural Eastern Cape, the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB)’s Small Business Academy (SBA) have partnered for the second year with the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency (JoGEDA) to offer sponsored business development support for Small Businesses in the area.
The group of 26 small businesses from Aliwal North, Sterkspruit, Lady Grey, Ugie, Burgersdorp and Maclear embarked this week on their nine month journey which aims to strengthen the sustainability of their businesses and bridge the much needed gap for business education. The programme covers from training in general management, finance, marketing, computer skills, and business plan development, to personal development, practical workshops and a mentorship by an MBA graduate of USB.
Mr Ayanda Gqoboka, Chief Executive Officer of JoGEDA says that the partnership has demonstrated in 2017 the immense change that is possible.
“JoGEDA was established to drive enterprise development in the region and through the partnership with USB and the SBA programme we are now moving closer to ensure better business cohesion and support for entrepreneurs. We could not have managed this programme without the partnership and USB’s SBA programme assisted our first group last year to run their enterprises with structure, have a clear plan and greater understanding of the potential of their individual businesses. The results so far have been outstanding and we look forward in growing this initiative.”
Mr Gqoboka says that more than 35% of the population is unemployed in the district.
“The district suffers from lack of investment and business knowledge platforms, the negative impact of increased migration of people in search for employment opportunities in urban centers and metropolitan areas. We see the daily struggle of small businesses in the area operating as survivalist businesses, and we are strategically combating these key challenges through the SBA partnership.”
Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener, Head of the SBA programme, said that they look forward in being part of another successful year in shaping new leaders within the Eastern Cape communities.
“Many SMMEs don’t survive their first years due to a lack of business knowledge, the inability to create a business plan and poor market research amongst other. As a business school USB aims to give life to its vision of having a meaningful impact in society.
“By extending the SBA programme, which has been running successfully in the Western Cape for five years, for the second year to rural Eastern Cape, we will be able to have a greater impact on the lives and livelihood of the district.”
The SBA Development Programme is sponsored by JoGEDA, ECDC, DEDEAT and USB.