Vuthela Entrepreneurship Support Programme

Putting wings on purpose driven dreams

A group of young entrepreneurs in KwaDukuza Local Municipality is benefitting from intensive training and mentorship designed to take their small businesses to the next level of success.

Today, this group of 20 young entrepreneurs is learning how to refine their skills, grow their small businesses and give wings to their aspirations.

Tomorrow, one of them could be a business leader who will open doors for others to follow their path to success.

A batch of 20 young entrepreneurs is benefitting from an intensive support programme designed to take their businesses to the next level, which was kickstarted by a boot camp held recently in Ballito by the Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme.

The entrepreneurs, who operate in KwaDukuza, were invited to apply for the programme, and the final group of 20 was selected from 59 applicants.

Facilitator Lindokuhle Tembe said entrepreneurship offered opportunities to support livelihoods against a background of high unemployment and weak conditions for economic growth in the region.

“The youth of South Africa have many great ideas to start businesses that serve their communities, but they need support to get going and to keep going,” says Tembe, who is an economic development consultant attached to the Goshen Entrepreneurship Hub, the service provider appointed to implement the programme on behalf of Vuthela.

“The first phase of this course was held to get the entrepreneurs into gear with foundational training on issues like acquiring licencing, developing business plans and testing ideas to make sure the business is on the right track and will be sustainable in the long term,” says Tembe.

Modules included training around business leadership and economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

“This boot camp will get the entrepreneurs ready for the intensive six-week period of one-on-one mentorship and more practical training which relates directly to their own businesses.

“We will establish milestones for each business and help them to achieve each one, so they have a clear growth path into the future.

“The programme will include site visits and one-on-one follow ups on issues which emerge, like branding, marketing and developing a digital presence, which will all take them to the next level.”

One of the participants, 39-year-old Zamani Mthethwa, is the owner and operator of Emoyeni Car Wash-Restaurant-Pub.

He started a small car wash operation after an accident left him confined to a wheelchair.

“People asked for something to eat while they waited for their cars to be washed, so I started preparing meat. Then they wanted something to drink, and I started selling cold drinks. Now we have a full pub and the whole place offers everything you need to entertain yourself and your friends.

“We have no competition. Nowhere else in this area can you get your car washed and have something nice to eat and drink.”

Zamani says the support programme has so far taught him the value of discipline and teamwork in business, and he now has the skills to add more revenue streams to improve and sustain his business.

“This course has been a great benefit to me,” he says. “I will be applying what we learnt in the business as soon as I get back.”

Another entrepreneur, Ndumiso Phakathi, owns a catering company that specialises in preparing food for weddings, funerals, meetings, and school events.

The bootcamp has enabled him to develop a six-month plan to grow his business.

The plan includes providing catering services to at least one wedding and one funeral every weekend for the next six months and getting more contracts from government for municipal meetings and events.

Upgraded branding and an improved presence on Twitter and other digital platforms are also on the way following the training.

His company recently bought a food trailer to access new markets, but the permit application process was taking too long. Short-term plans now include purchasing a new vehicle and upgrading food preparation equipment.

Ndumiso was offered some sound advice from other trainees during group discussion on his ideas, including: “Work with the funeral parlours if you want to grow the business.”

Sanele Nkomo, who owns a welding company, makes security gates and burglar guards for his community at Groutville.

Following the bootcamp, his growth plan now includes stocking up on steel in bulk to save costs and finding bigger premises to expand operations.

After analysing his business as part of the training, he is now determined to make several changes. He will now manufacture gates in standard sizes so customers can buy them off the shelf without having to wait for their gate to be produced, create a showroom to exhibit his products, and extend the product line to other steel items needed in the home.

He will be revamping his Facebook page and using additional digital platforms to market his products.

Yoyo Khetshane operates a small construction company and now plans to supplement his income by adding a tool and plant hire service.

“This will help us to keep going when we don’t have construction jobs, and we can hire the tools to our competitors who got the jobs that we did not get,” says Yoyo.

Growth plans include investing in tools and equipment for hiring out and visiting construction sites to look for work as sub-contractors to large companies.

These entrepreneurs are opening the way for many others to follow, says Tembe.

“We want to get these young people ready to take up opportunities as they emerge and to convert them into business success,” he says.

“Every young entrepreneur that benefits from the programme and grows their business successfully gives hope that this can be done, and this will inspire others to become entrepreneurs in the future.”


Pic caption: Training facilitator Lindokuhle Tembe taking entrepreneurs through the programme