Lesley Waterkeyn, the chief executive of brand agency Colourworks. Photo: Supplied
JOHANNESBURG - One of Africa’s most influential women is on a quest to capacitate small businesses by branding their enterprises with professional logos worth more than R2 million.

Lesley Waterkeyn, founder and chief executive of brand and marketing agency Colourworks, will donate 67 logos to 67 small medium enterprises (SMEs) in Johannesburg and Cape Town as part of Mandela Day celebrations next Wednesday.

“We want to get behind entrepreneurs in South Africa. We believe that’s where the growth is,” she told Business Report. “More than 80percent of businesses fail within their first two to three years of operation, because they don’t look professional and therefore don’t get taken seriously. We want to change that by giving them a chance to thrive in the South African economy.”

Waterkeyn said they had commissioned 67 designers to come up with the logos. “Some of the logos are already completed. They will be handed over on Mandela Day at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg and later in Cape Town.”

She said they had partnered with entrepreneurial incubators and hubs and other networks to make the project possible.

However, Waterkeyn said they did not only want to give the companies logos to make them look good. “We want to take them on a two-day boot camp where they will come up with a three-year proper business plan.”

Waterkeyn, Africa’s Most Influential Women finalist in 2015, said: “Many successful South African businesses started as entrepreneurial entities, my business included. The reality is that our youth unemployment rate is mind-boggling and the only way out of this darkness is job creation by SMEs.”

She added: “However, these SMEs need support - both from the government and the private sector. This project is our way of banding together successful small and medium businesses and corporates - many of which were also started by entrepreneurs - and assisting in a sustainable way.”

Designers Ink's group managing director, Samantha Gabriel, said: “This is a fantastic way of doing something that will last for years, even decades.”

- BUSINESS REPORT