Friday, October 5, 2007

Growth point initiative

Since the beginning of September I have been involved in an enterprise development programme targeting operating small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The Growth point initiative is collaboration between Investec Group of Properties and The Business Place. It is an initiative aimed at maximizing the growth prospects of existing SMEs through providing essential business skills and business opportunities. This generally involves a combination of demand-side actions in which technical support is directly to SMEs and supply-side measures relating to SME support structures such awarding of long term corporate tenders. My role in this project is to provide technical support which involves assisting selected enterprises prepare business profiles and services proposals.

180 Academy - Positive Deviance Module

The pinnacle of my internship was being selected to participate in Positive Deviance programme which is a collaborative initiative between The Business Place and 180 Academy (Denmark). In this programme we hosted exchange students from 180 Academy in Denmark. As The Business Place staff I join 180 Academy students in a training module on Positive Deviance.

Positive deviance is a development approach that is based on the premises that solutions to community problems already exist within the community. The positive deviance approach thus differs from traditional ‘needs based approach’ or problem solving approaches in that it does not focus primarily on the identification of needs and external inputs necessary to meet those needs or solve problems. Instead it seeks to identify and optimize existing resources and solutions within the community to solve community problems.

The objectives of the training were to identify positive deviance and non positive deviance clients of the Business place and conduct interviews. In these interviews we identified positive business practices among successful client and also negative business practices among the non positive deviance clients. We then as a group designed an action plan based on the findings during the week on how to assist non positive deviance clients who are finding the going difficult in there business.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Transforming the economy through Small to Medium Enterprises

The past month I have been working closely with emerging small to medium enterprises (SMME’s). In doing so, I have developed a strong appreciation of the role of SMME’s in fostering accelerated economic growth and economic transformation. I believe the SMME sector is critical to achieve the key national development objectives of economic growth, employment creation and equity.

The importance of the SMME economy for economic development and job creation cannot be undermined. Several important set of issues are being highlighted by entrepreneurs in terms of the key existing obstacles to improved business performance. The most clusters of issues relates to the growing competition from large companies, weakened by the lack of skills and capital.

As a result emerging small business enterprises in South Africa have a high mortality rate and usually fail to grow into larger businesses. I strongly endorse the perception that it is through growing the SME sector that sustainable growth can be achieved. While the large corporates are important to the country’s economy, they tend to be capital-intensive in nature. Clearly, it is through supporting Small to Medium Enterprises, which are labour-intensive and owner-driven businesses where trickledown economics can really make a difference.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Small Business; Big Possibilities

This week we successfully hosted two network sessions for our clients mainly in the small to medium enterprises (SME). Plascon Advisory services facilitated a network session which targeted those in construction industry. The network session focused on how entrepreneurs can become fully accredited Plascon Applicators. Whilst the City of Johannesburg presented the second network forum, informing entrepreneurs on how to get registered on the City of Johannesburg Supplier Database so as to be eligible for quoting tenders and contracts.

The impacts of such network sessions go a long way in helping small businesses become more competitive and grow. It is through sharing knowledge that we can grow as individuals, and as nation. The networking session are providing turnaround support, which includes developing market linkages and transference of skills to the emerging entrepreneurs.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quote for the week

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot wrongs questions” Anthony Jay

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Business place: A creative collaboration

Business place, a national networking forum, is creating many entrepreneurial opportunities for people from marginalised communities that would not have had access to such prospects. Business Place is a national network of youth-friendly entrepreneurial centres. Its services are clustered under one roof with information centre at the core. The organisation enables entrepreneurs to explore ideas and their potential, encouraging the implementation of such ideas within an unprejudiced environment.

The organisation endeavours on planting seeds of entrepreneurship, stimulating local business and enabling people to become sustainable in their communities, in so doing reducing community dependence on the government. Business place is an ideal delivery platform for other networking initiatives that are targeted towards entrepreneurial objectives.

The organisation is a unique net work forum that is flexible, replicable and adapt to local economic realities and requirements. The network forum has demonstrated success in mobilisation of local participation and ownership through the pooling of resources from different clusters such as the business, government and non-governmental organisations. The overall benefit of such a forum is realised in the elimination of cost of instigating a comparable enterprise.

Monday, July 16, 2007


My first day at Business Place was a remarkable one, firstly I was taken to my working station, where there was a desktop computer and an office desk already set out for me. Buli showed around and introduced to some staff members. This was followed by a brief induction on the operations of the organization by my mentor.

I was so thrilled to have secured an internship position with Business Place. The idea of moving from humanities to finance is fascinating. As a B.A graduate, moving into the business environment is a shift that will expose me to a world of finance and entrepreneurial ship.

My mentor, Tracy, graceful gave me a guideline of what was expected of me on my first day. She then urged me to work with tenacity. The first assignment was to assist in organizing two upcoming workshops. This involved creating a database and making calls inviting all prospective clients who would be interested in attending the respective workshops. Each step in this internship is going to take me closer to the ultimate goal of developing a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of business management and entrepreneurship.