An entrepreneurship programme in the Western Cape is set to accelerate the progress of once struggling entrepreneurs.
A collaboration between the Silulo Ulutho Foundation, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Notre Dame University, has come together to assist upcoming entrepreneurs from disadvantaged environments in townships and rural areas, on better and improved ways to conduct their business, while assisting the entrepreneurs with sourcing funding.
Simon Moeketsi Kachuma, the owner of Katlego Landscaping Masters in Cape Town, said when he first began his business, he struggled with the marketing aspect of his business.
“Since joining the entrepreneurial programme with Silulo, UWC and Notre Dame University, my business has been doing great. It has added great value to my understanding of marking and has segmented the marketing challenges I once had before joining,” he said.
Abongile Bani, the owner of Grossapacks, an online delivery store in Cape Town, said he once attempted business strategies that yielded unsustainable returns before joining the programme.
“The plan this year was to study an entrepreneurial study programme at either CPUT or UWC. The programmes on offer were too academic. I wanted something that would be practical. I then saw a post on LinkedIn by Mr Luvuyo Rani from Silulo Ulutho Foundation. I applied and it has greatly enriched my business skillset as I prepare to launch my pilot project between Kuils River and Durbanville,” he said.
Rani, from Silulo Ulutho Foundation, said the entrepreneurial programme was a global initiative and that Cape Town was the only South African city participating in it.
“Uganda and South Africa are the only countries participating in Africa. There are 28 countries from all parts of the world that are participating. It offers upcoming and established businesses an 80-step guide on how to get a business running. These steps range from registering a business to designing a logo and more,” he said.
Rani said there were six training components, including venture training and venture consulting, where UWC comes in by sending interested students to assist with the intake of business training, while learning about business too.
“We also have venture mentorship training, venture connection, venture tracking database and we are looking into launching the sixth component, microfunding. Currently the programme refers the businesses to funders. The programme funds the participants 75% of the joining fee, and the entrepreneurs settle 25% of the fee for commitment purposes,” he said.
Rani said the programme is a 10-month programme and has boot camps throughout the 10-month duration at Isivivana centre in Khayelitsha and hosts events at UCT from time to time.
Abraham Oliver, the director of the centre for entrepreneurship and innovation (CEI) at UWC, said UWC CEI is responsible for the recruitment of the students to provide coaching to the township entrepreneurs.
“It is also for the training of the coaches driven by the community partner, Silulo Ulutho Foundation, founded by Luvuyo Rani. Silulo Ulutho Foundation drives the recruitment of the township entrepreneurs through their various social media platforms, community radio stations and community newspapers, and referrals from existing participants. This programme will be ongoing. A second cohort was launched in July.”
“This is first of its kind in South Africa with a triadic partnership including a local community partner, a local university and an international university. The programme itself is unique as it presents participants with solid academic input, experts on the topic in the related field and a community entrepreneur every Saturday,” he said.
Professor Michael Morris, from the entrepreneurship and social innovation department from Notre Dame University, said the Urban Poverty and Business Initiative (UPBI) is a unique approach to assisting low-income and disadvantaged entrepreneurs as they build sustainable businesses.
“Unlike the traditional focus on the business plan or lean start-up, we focus on 80 steps to a sustainable enterprise, where progress begets progress. The programme employs a unique toolkit that meets those in poverty where they are.
“Entrepreneurs are exposed to training, mentoring, student consulting, community connection events, a pathway to microcredit, and performance tracking. Through the phases of the programme, we walk with the entrepreneur as they complete the steps to sustainability.
“We are currently operating in 32 cities across the globe, and our goal is to increase that to 50 cities in the next two years. We are serving just over 2 000 disadvantaged entrepreneurs per year, and hope to grow that number to 5 000 in the coming years. We are especially excited by our partnership with the Silulo Ulutho Foundation and the programme in Cape Town. Luvuyo has jump-started the programme and introduced some innovations, which we are sharing with all the other partner cities,” Morris said.