About 15 fledgling entrepreneurs in the Kleinmond area – ranging from upholsterers and furniture-makers to caterers and an electronics company – are benefiting from an innovative small business training project that is helping them to establish or expand their businesses.
The Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI) is facilitating this training and capacity-building on behalf of Mthimkhulu Community Development. Mthimkhulu is part of the Grail Centre, which offers job training and lifelong learning courses for marginalised communities, among other initiatives.
The training takes place in two-hour learning sessions that began on 14 March this year, and will run until 5 December.
“Based on methodology developed by the CCDI over the past 12 years, we developed a course that is activity-based and learner-centred, with a business game, practical exercises and group work,” said Eugene Newman, the CCDI Business Development Facilitator. “It covers all aspects of running a successful business. Topics include money management, business vision, consolidating the business idea, developing a business road map, costing and pricing, business identity and life coaching.”
One of the participants is the Akker Group craft enterprise, which was set up in 2011 and now has about 10 members. They needed help with turning their hobby into a business and CCDI assisted by facilitating business management skills in the business. The members learnt how to manage their money and keep proper records, and to determine how much they needed to make monthly to break even and what was the best business entity for the group.
Another beneficiary is the Swartz family, owners of the Oceans Fisheries and Take-Aways — a fish and chips outlet in Kleinmond. One-on-one consultations have helped Louise Swartz to address challenges such as working out her production costs, how to reduce costs while still maintaining quality, and establishing the required monthly turnover in order to break even.
Also on the course was Chantal Witthuhn of Witt Innovations (formerly iWeather). Her husband Russell, a paragliding pilot, had designed a cost-effective Internet-based weather station, with near-real time information, in 2006. Other pilots started using the newly developed online system and became aware of its benefits, which generated interest and sales.
Witt Innovations has now branched into services such as manufacturing, live telemetry monitoring networks, research and development and testing. Its cellphone-based weather and environmental monitoring systems are geared for the home and light industrial markets, with over 350 weather stations on its networks operating nationally and internationally. Core markets include aviation, agriculture, mining, construction, sport, weather forecasting and private use.
“Both the business course and life coaching have helped me greatly in how I see my role in the business, decisions made, suggestions and opportunities I see for the company,” said Chantal. “It has also given me confidence and surety in what we have implemented, what changes we can make and options we have. Eugene, the facilitator, was a great inspiration through sharing his knowledge, contacts, experience and expert advice, which were invaluable.”
Eugene said that the main challenges have been helping participants with limited business experience, uneven literacy and educational levels (ranging from primary to high school qualifications) and limited knowledge of English or Afrikaans.
These have been addressed through one-on-one consultations held after hours or before a workshop, group discussions, using visual aids, organising a site visit, and encouraging the faster participants to help those who are struggling.
“Although there have been some challenges, we have been able to identify them and make recommendations and adjustments to the programme as these have come up,” said Eugene. “Overall, the course is going well and participants are learning new skills – and, most importantly, how to implement what they have learnt.”
“While our business support and training content is sector-specific to the creative industries, the principles and underlying philosophy of people-centred development can be applied more broadly into other small business contexts,” said Sarah Polonsky, the CCDI Business Support Programme Manager.
More Info link:: http://www.ccdi.org.za
Author: Judy Bryant from Judy Bryant Communications .
No of Images Uploaded: One
Click on each to see larger image.
CCDI Business Facilitator Eugene Newman with Nandi Funda of Mthimkhulu Community Development and Louisa Swartz of Oceans Fisheries and Take-Aways, a fish and chips outlet. Photographer: CCDI – Eugene Newman