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Small Business Academy hones entrepreneurial skills of people from disadvantaged communities

USB SBA from left to right Dr Armand Bam, Shadreck Siziba, Nocawe Nompunga and Constant Mambiki. Picture Supplied.

USB SBA from left to right Dr Armand Bam, Shadreck Siziba, Nocawe Nompunga and Constant Mambiki. Picture Supplied.

Published Dec 10, 2021


According to the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities have the capacity to earn a decent income and create jobs.

Through its Small Business Academy (SBA), the university hones the entrepreneurial skills of people from disadvantaged communities. The nine-month small business development programme is sponsored by Absa and Distel.

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Head of Social Impact Dr Armand Bam said the vision of the SBA was to make a difference in the lives of small business owners in low-income communities, and build their capacity to ensure the sustainability of their businesses, with a positive impact on their surrounding community.

“The majority of start-up small businesses in South Africa fail in their first 12 to 24 months mainly because the entrepreneurs, while having the technical skills in their sector, lack the knowledge of how to plan, run and sustain a business.”

“The SBA aims to fill that gap, and, unlike many other SME support programmes, we don’t hand over a certificate and walk away – we continue the involvement through mentoring, workshops and master classes, and that is key to the programme’s success. Our impact research has shown that most participants have remained in their business, have grown profitability and employment,” said Bam.

The programme, which started nine years ago, had 14 graduates this year. Shadreck Siziba owner of Avonwood SuperSpar in Elsies River, received the Top Student award for the highest marks overall in the 2021 SBA programme.

He said the programme had helped put him on track to achieve his vision of owning a chain of supermarkets across the Cape flats.

“The programme opens your mind to look at all aspects of your business, rather than focusing only on rands and cents. I’ve been able to crystallise the vision for the business, and drill down into our underlying principles and values that guide decision making. The SBA has deepened my management perspective and enabled me to create a properly managed business,” Siziba said.

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Another graduate, Nocawe Nompunga, owner of Alatha’s Daycare Centre in Khayelitsha, was noted for making the best improvement in class. She won the award for the best business plan.

“Achieving the certificate from the SBA programme has raised the credibility of the business. It raises the standard, gives confidence that the centre is run properly and is a selling point in marketing the centre,” she said.


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