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The Hope Factory’s new Business Development Programmes give more entrepreneurs wings to fly

Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler was guest speaker at The Hope Factory’s pilot programme graduation this morning, encouraging the graduates to take advantage of the opportunities offered by South Africa and to create employment through entrepreneurship. More than 50 graduated during this morning’s proceedings.

Today, more than 50 entrepreneurs graduated from The Hope Factory's pilot Business Development programme.

CEO of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Kevin Hustler, as guest speaker, encouraged entrepreneurs at the graduation ceremony saying: “There are incredible opportunities in this country. We are a nation very blessed with incredibly rich assets and people that are extremely talented. We need to utilise the opportunities that we have in our 50 million + population and realise our dreams to become a truly prosperous nation, because I really believe we can become that. So we need to create employment through entrepreneurs like yourself.”

South Africa’s unemployment rate continues to rise. According to Statistics South Africa’s quarterly labour force survey, in the third quarter of 2012 the rate stands at 25.5%. The answer to turning this around lies, many suggest, in encouraging entrepreneurship.

However, according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report, the success rate for South African start-up businesses reaching the 3½ year mark is 2.3%. In short, they’re often unsustainable.

Enterprise Development organisation, The Hope Factory, is helping to address this problem through the addition of new Business Development Programmes in order to equip and develop entrepreneurs with the business skills, not only to survive, but also to grow their businesses.

Its new Business Development Programme is aimed at both entrepreneurs who are running businesses that are not yet registered, as well as entrepreneurs who are operating registered companies, but would like to see their businesses grow to the next level. Largely service based, these businesses include gardening services, event management, computer training, web development, manufacturing, film and TV production, construction and catering.

Business Chamber Ceo Kevin Hustler Was Guest Speaker At The Hope Factory’S Pilot Programme Graduation This Morning (Pic)

Says Jackie Gossman, Senior Executive for Training and Mentoring at The Hope Factory, “In the past The Hope Factory has largely focused on assisting start-up businesses in the textile (sewing) industry. These new programmes widen the pool of entrepreneurs receiving training as we’re now training entrepreneurs running more developed businesses and across other trades.”

The programme material, which was developed by The Hope Factory, together with Converg Training Consultants, covers business and financial management, including sales and marketing, personal development (such as improving time management and goal setting), as well as the practical aspects of the importance of correct costing and cash flow management.

Says Gossman, “The aim of our different programmes is to address the needs of entrepreneurs at all levels of society. It takes a great deal of courage, perseverance and self-confidence to start and sustain a business, and for this reason the importance of mentoring running parallel to the training is a key aspect for us in the success of the programme.”

Graduate Claudio Plaatjies who runs a chemical manufacturing business, Elwaan Chemicals, says of his experience, “Overall this programme has helped me to understand how to run my business better. I am eager to learn more.”

The help doesn’t stop here though. "On completion of the programme, the entrepreneurs have the opportunity to join the Hope Factory's Entrepreneur Support Programme. This continuing support programme includes services to the entrepreneur such as network opportunities, workshops, seed capital investments, support in accessing markets and further business training, all underpinned by on-going mentoring," concludes Gossman.