BREDASDORP BUSINESS HUB HELPS SMME’S TO GET TRAINING AND BECOME SUSTAINABLE
In partnership with the Cape Agulhas Municipality, Excelsior Wind Energy Facility has provided funding and support to the Bredasdorp community’s business hub to breathe new life into the space and provide support to fledgling enterprises.
Since it was established in 2019, the hub has struggled to fulfil its SMME-support function due to lack of funds and training. The introduction of an SMME skills training programme to the hub by Excelsior Wind Energy Facility has enabled it to be optimally utilised and fulfil its function as a centre for business start ups and a catalyst for them to thrive in the local economy.
“The intention of the business hub is to provide a physical location for local SMME’s to trade, as well as provide facilities for training. When we discovered that the facility wasn’t being utilised properly, we saw an opportunity to work with the Cape Agulhas Municipality, by making training available to local SMMEs and ensuring that the hub is used as it was intended, thereby maximising the impact on community businesses,” said Libby Hirshon, Sustainability Director at BTE Renewables and Excelsior Wind Energy Facility.
The skills training programme runs for a full year, with sessions running twice a week, every week. Whenever possible, these are run in-person, but virtual content is also provided when in-person training is not possible. The participating business owners expect to graduate by the end of this year, or January 2023, having covered topics such as access to market; basic marketing skills; online and social media marketing; and customer service support.
Five local SMME’s, which were identified by the Cape Agulhas Municipality, receive this training, skills upliftment and have benefited directly from the business hubs’ infrastructure. These include two hairdressers; fast food businesses; and a carwash. The hub additionally provided support to an erosion control, and alien vegetation clearing SMME, which operates outside of the business hub structure, and is an employer of eleven community members.
“We are already seeing amazing results from this programme. Now in the second quarter, we are pleased that these businesses are already showing profits, which they now know how to accurately calculate. Our service provider, Your Skills Gap Solutions, has engaged the business owners in skills training covering business writing, compliance, budgets, financial report writing, and bookkeeping, in addition to other key content,” said, Jasan Johnson, Social Performance Co-Ordinator for Excelsior Wind Energy Facility.
“This enterprise development programme is helping me in all business aspects. I created my own brand, and put a Quality Management System in place, which includes all my policies. It was also very interesting to create a Business Profile and Business Plan. But, best of all, I can see the results in my profits each month,“ said Ms. Ucile Visagie, owner of Salon Sielie, one of the SMME’s benefitting from this programme.