Boost for entrepreneurs

Lee-Anne Butler

ENTERPRISE development organisation The Hope Factory last week awarded capital investments to 40 budding entrepreneurs, to be used to grow their businesses to become successful enterprises.

The entrepreneurs, who all take part in the organisation’s support programme, received the investments at an awards ceremony held at the organisation’s offices in North End on Friday. The investments ranged from raw materials to specialised equipment like digital cameras, sewing machines and power tools, as well as marketing tools and even training courses, depending on the unique needs of the individual businesses.

According to The Hope Factory, many small businesses battle to reach the crucial 3½-year mark in order to become sustainable.

According to the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), only 2% of all entrepreneurial businesses in South Africa manage to achieve this.

Through its innovative mentorship and support programme, the organisation helps young entrepreneurs to develop sustainable businesses by providing them with the necessary skills and support.

The organisation said these investments could give the small business taking part in its programme the kick- start they needed to become successful.

The Hope Factory’s chief operating officer, Maurita Odendaal, said: “A strategic investment into an enterprise can often mean the difference between closing the doors and future growth. By investing in these enterprises, The Hope Factory is helping the 40 businesses to navigate through the crossroads of survival versus growth.”

Odendaal said the organisation would continue to work with these entrepreneurs to ensure the investments delivered the maximum return in order to ensure the businesses became financially sustainable.

Malusi Mavela and Nomathamsanqa Myoyo, who run their Blissful Delights business in which they bake and sell muffins on the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University campus, said the investment would allow them to become more productive and more efficient.

The pair received a 30-litre dough mixer, which will increase their capacity to 432 muffins per batch. When they first started the business in 2009, they relied on one small stove and, in order to bake enough muffins for their orders, started baking at 2am every morning, 12 muffins at a time.

“We plan to expand to more of the colleges in Port Elizabeth. In addition to this investment, The Hope Factory has provided us with financial mentoring which has helped us to better manage our finances and in understanding the overall financial position of our business at any one time,” Mavela said.

The Hope Factory spokeswoman Jolandi Snyders said 134 entrepreneurs had passed through the organisation’s support programme, after an application and selection process.

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