HELPING THEM GROW: Vusi Thembekwayo Picture: Supplied
HELPING THEM GROW: Vusi Thembekwayo Picture: Supplied
HELPING THEM GROW: Vusi Thembekwayo Picture: Supplied
HELPING THEM GROW: Vusi Thembekwayo Picture: Supplied
Forty hand-picked entrepreneurs countrywide will embark on an 18-month journey with venture capitalist Vusi Thembekwayo’s mentorship programme.

A programme hosted by MyGrowthFund (MGF) was launched to find and nurture high-growth entrepreneurs through funding, incubation and enterprise development platforms.

The #Top40 will help businesses to scale up and grow to meet their defined targets.

Business owners such as Siyabesho Thutha and Danile Zoko said this opportunity was exciting especially after being selected among nearly 3000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Thutha, director and designer of Blaque Pearl Lifestyle, said: “We are excited and ecstatic that we were chosen out of many applications to be part of the top 40 journey. There’s nothing like the surety that someone believes so much in your dream and is willing to amplify it.”

“We really are looking forward to growing our access to the market in the interior design field, growing our business financially and operationally to make it a true success and of course mentorship guidance to make sure we achieve the above and being an inspiration to upcoming entrepreneurs,” said Thutha.

Zoko, the founder of Zolu Trading, said he was thrilled to be part of the mentorship programme especially being based in a rural area.

“For one to be selected takes our business to the next level, especially coming from a rural area in Qwa Qwa in the Free State.

“There is clearly something that we are doing right for people like Vusi to help our business to move to the next level.”

According to entrepreneurship guru Thembekwayo, the volume and quality of applications was a reflection that entrepreneurship was alive and thriving in South Africa.

“The final #Top40 list is a mix of small to medium businesses turning over between R1million and R39m annually. The SMEs come from diverse sectors, including landscaping, medical, fashion, engineering, energy finance, education, ICT and construction.”

What made this entrepreneurship mentorship programme different, Thembekwayo said, was that MGF was a venture capital fund for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs.

“Each member of the management team has experience of at least a decade in building businesses, so we know the entrepreneur’s journey and understand their challenges and what works and what doesn’t.”

“We also have a huge corporate network that we can leverage and get assistance for our entrepreneurs.”

He added that their management capability put them in a strong position to help their entrepreneurs to access funding for those that needed it and help them build new markets.

Thembekwayo added that issues affecting other programmes would include:

When entrepreneurs are looking for a programme to help them grow, he advised them to consider the owners and management team of the programme - do they have experience as entrepreneurs? Unfortunately entrepreneurship is a practice, it’s not something you can theorise, it takes application, he said.

In many instances the solutions for the entrepreneurs are drawn up by people who do not understand the entrepreneur and are not immersed in the entrepreneur’s day-to-day reality.

Most programmes on the market are too short. Corporates have the budget to spend on enterprise development, but the SME programmes they are channelling the funds through, go for numbers rather than quality.

“They are churning out too many entrepreneurs through their programmes in too short a time,” he pointed out.