November 2022.

With the launch of the Young Game Changers Programme in April this year, more than 10 SMMEs in the Saldanha Bay Municipal area are being upskilled. During this two-year ongoing training programme, the participating entrepreneurs will be given a range of essential business skills to help improve profitability and the longevity of their businesses.

One of the participants, Bradwell Klazen, says the programme is helping him better understand and organise his business model, “The training has also made me realise how important it is to keep up with the latest technologies and innovations, not only in my industry but also in general. As a result, this has propelled me to think of ways I can adapt my company to the current economic climate.”

The reality for many young people in developing areas, such as communities in the West Coast region, is that the road to entrepreneurship may be the only entry point into the job market and a way out of poverty. This makes stimulus programmes such as these an ideal vehicle to boost jobs and stimulate access to the economy.

“Being a youth entrepreneur is not easy, especially in South Africa, which is why we support the implementation of programmes, such as this initiative, as it aims to unlock productive drivers of inclusive economic growth, development, and job creation. The participating businesses will graduate from the programme and be long-standing contributors to the local or regional economy,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for Umoya Energy Wind farm.

Through training, coaching, consultation and advisory services, the programme grooms local SMMEs to become thriving and sustainable youth-owned businesses that are meaningful contributors to the country’s growth.

“We see our role as helping to bridge the gap between small businesses and large corporations by aligning their offerings with those of small businesses. It brings together various enterprise development elements and resources that will not only help the small businesses grow but ensure that they have opportunities within their respective industries,” added Isaacs.

Implementing some of the key considerations such as formalising youth businesses, providing them with a structured programme with goals, and developing their offerings to be more attractive to existing or future value chains could effectively boost their participation in the local economy.

The programme hopes to achieve the following: coaching and mentoring for entrepreneurs in the beneficiary communities; access to market opportunities through supplier days and networking events; business registration and formalisation; improved business understanding and business skills; improved financial control; access to non-financial business support; and a better understanding of the SMME landscape (further opportunities) in South Africa.


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