Teaching entrepreneurship to be streetwise

False Bay TVET held a community enterprise exhibition at one of their colleges in Khayelitsha.

Across the world entrepreneurship is acknowledged as one of the key drivers for economic growth.

But small and emerging businesses are often faced with endless challenges of surviving and keeping their doors open.

However, the False Bay Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in partnership with various stakeholders are empowering upcoming entrepreneurs with crucial business skills.

The college held a community enterprise exhibition at one of their colleges in Khayelitsha last Thursday as part of a pilot project to assist township businesses.

Business showcased their offerings, ranging from catering, fashion and travelling to landscaping products and other services.

The top five businesses also stood a chance to win their share of a R50 000 prize.

The college firmly believes that boosting small businesses is one of the key steps to growing the country’s economy – and that today’s small business could be tomorrow’s economy giant.

Steve Reid, the director at the Centre for Entrepreneurship at False Bay College, said when they conceptualised the programme idea they wanted to assist business that had been operating for at least 18 month.

He said they specifically targeted businesses from Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and Philippi. He said these entrepreneurs were required to attend information sessions and workshops before they could be eligible to showcase their businesses at the event.

He said one of the key things that the project hoped to achieve was to assist these emerging business with ways of growing their ventures.

He said the entrepreneurs were empowered with skills such as how to pitch their business and how to reach their target market.

Mr Reid said their mission behind this concept was to create a network and relationship between small businesses.

Through the programme, he said they wanted instil in them that entrepreneurship courage, grit and unwavering spirit.

Mr Reid said entrepreneurs must be aware that they will be knocked down but giving up should never be an option.

Talking about challenges, he said most small businesses battle to identify or reach their target market and that was hugely contributed to by a lack of proper marketing.

“The value that these business have expressed kind of shows we are on the right track here.

“Those who are here, we want them to tell us about their businesses. What can you offer? We want to make entrepreneurs the coolest dudes in the room. But we are not naive; we understand their challenges hence we want to try and help them.

“The training that we did was very streetwise and was not theoretical but practical. We taught them what were some of the things that one needs to understand without becoming an accountant. We emphasised the importance of marketing.

“Every business decision has financial consequences. We want them to learn to separate personal finance from business finance,” he said.

Mr Reid noted that while many of the businesses survive hand-to-mouth, through the programme they want to them to set thei goals.

Emerging entrepreneur, Zandile Tladi, who sells baby goods, including baby clothes, said she has learnt especially about the importance of marketing and reaching her audience.

Ms Tladi said the information she has acquired from the training has certainly shaped her thinking and helped her to be streetwise.