WIND FARM HELPS WEST COAST ENTREPRENEURS ACCESS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Nineteen West Coast entrepreneurs, who are a part of a growing cohort of businesses, are receiving technical skills, with a special focus on marketing their business, as part of the Umoya Energy SMME Accelerator programme.
This is the second phase in the development programme, aimed at more established businesses based within the Saldanha Bay Municipal area. Participants, who underwent a strict selection process, will benefit from coaching and mentorship; skills development skillsets to improve revenue as well as personal growth as an entrepreneur and incubation opportunities.
Ms Faith Filtane, youth business-owner of Filtane Development, which specialises in building renovations, maintenance and cleaning services, is one of the participants. She sees this programme as an opportunity to learn to identify and adjust the businesses’ focus, to ensure sustainable growth. “My dream is to create an online platform that will enable local entrepreneurs to access new and wider markets, thereby helping to create sustainable growth,” said Filtane.
In 2020, Umoya Energy Wind Farm launched Phase 1 of their Blended Business Accelerator programme, with service provider Africa’s Got Game. The first eight months focused on providing mentorship to deliver business growth, personal development and specific guidance around risk management in relation to the current health pandemic. The wind farm is pleased to have been able to get the second phase into the West Coast community, despite the current C-19 3rd wave.
“This programme is designed to establish connection and access for SMMEs to beyond the West Coast market, with the intention of increasing opportunities for growth, which includes both private and public sector opportunities. This will of course stimulate the local job creation whilst increasing revenue,” said Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for Umoya Energy Wind Farm, which has provided seed capital, often in the form of equipment financing, to the entrepreneurs as well as other human-capital support.
The programme is in partnership with the Saldanha Bay IDZ and aims to assist local enterprises to move from being survivalist businesses to formal sustainable SMMEs.
To better understand the needs and priorities of the 50km radius communities, Umoya Energy Wind Farm commissioned a needs analysis in 2019, with a specific focus on local businesses and entrepreneurs. Through this analysis the development team could determine business challenges and gaps and identify the best route to empower and strengthen SMMEs, which is in line with its Economic Development Programmes’ aim of building capacity, skills transfer and funding of various beneficiary programmes.
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