From beauty industry to building sector

Zendile Nondumiso changed direction in her career thanks to a course managed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber
NEW OPPORTUNITIES: Zendile Nondumiso changed direction in her career thanks to a course managed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber

A 10-month enterprise development course dramatically shifted Zendile Nondumiso’s career choice as she moved from the beauty industry to the construction sector.

The decision, Nondumiso said, was all thanks to the Enterprise Development Programme managed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and funded by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).

“It taught me that the principles of entrepreneurship are the same and can be used in any business,” she said, after taking part in the 2018/2019 programme.

“The construction industry is far more lucrative.”

Applications for the 2020 programme close on June 11.

“I would recommend this to people who are keen on improving their businesses.

“I sent one of my staff workers last year,” she said.

Nondumiso, 35, initially ran Psalm Joyful Beauty but later joined her fiancé, Mthetheleli Ncana, in his enterprise.

The duo own Kingsworth Civils and Constructions.

“It is a male-dominated, dog-eat-dog world but I really prefer [it],” she said.

Nondumiso markets the company while Ncana works on site.

Of the programme, she said: “You are given real-world advice and not just theory.

“You have to supply actual details of your own business so it is not just scenarios.”

MoreGworks Holdings owner Siwela Happymore, 31, said sales went up drastically for his mechanical and engineering company after finishing the 2018/2019 course.

“It really helped. It helped my business grow.

“My approach for clients changed as I was given a different view on how to approach them.

“This led to more sales,” he said.

Happymore said he never knew much about entrepreneurship until after the programme.

“I am still receiving mentorship and people are starting to pay attention to my company,” he said.

The enterprise development programme comes at a cost of R748,247, provided by the ECDC, and resulting in successful applicants’ courses being paid for in full.

It is aimed at improving the business management skills of small businesses through on-the-job, customised training modules, coaching and mentoring.

The programme runs over nine months with the chamber responsible for the day-to-day implementation.

The Nelson Mandela University Business School and the eWatchdog are the training and mentoring service providers respectively.

ECDC enterprise development senior manager Mpumi Fundam said the programme would run from July 2020 to April 2021.

“Since inception in 2014, more than 120 businesses out of the 160 small businesses who took part in the programme have graduated,” Fundam said.

Businesses are equipped in areas such as leadership, marketing and financial management.

The combination of training is conducted and assessed by the Nelson Mandela University Business School as well as through a direct focus on soft-skills training by the chamber through its members who voluntarily give back to the small business development.

Entrepreneurs are mentored by experienced mentors under the umbrella of eWatchdog.

“The programme helps participants understand the elements of market readiness, growing their businesses and sustainable job creation.

“The programme offers an effective combination of mentorship and skills development,” Fundam said.

He said the programme also created business-to-business platforms that assisted SMMEs to be prepared for finance, sales and market opportunities.

Chamber operations manager Prince Matonsi said participants had to attend 80% of all the business school classroom courses, 22 hours of counselling, mentoring and coaching as well as five coffee morning sessions aimed at developing soft skills.

He said the goal was for businesses to produce tangible outcomes which resulted in business viability, improved competitiveness and market access opportunities.

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