Powering Up Emerging Enterprises
Posted by Caryn on July 29, 2011 in News
One of the greatest needs amongst emerging businesses in South Africa is capacity building and connecting to a market, to ensure their success and long term sustainability. And emerging enterprises are one of the greatest needs South Africa has right now, as high unemployment figures and job creation take centre stage.
Open Africa is responding to this need amongst the 2 600 enterprises in its network of 62 travel routes, currently working with about 30 emerging enterprises across three routes in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands area.
Considered in this light, it makes sense that EON Consulting recently chose Open Africa as beneficiary for funds resulting from Enshrine Placements’ Socio-Economic Development Strategy. There is synergy between the two organizations in that EON focuses on strategy consultancy, and Open Africa actively initiates strategies that assist emerging enterprises to connect to markets through tourism. The placements of John Fletcher as Principle Consultant and Ntaoleng Kunene as Business Consultant with EON mean that the project in KwaZulu-Natal, which is in year two of an anticipated three, now has access to additional funds which will be used to:
• further strengthen management capacity
• enhance knowledge sharing and mentorship
• increase links, connections and accessibility to markets
The enterprises in question offer products and services related to tourism such as accommodation, crafts and tour operating. The anticipated impacts of supporting these initiatives are increased long term sustainability and job creation; just what South Africa needs.
With the generous support of organisations like EON Consulting, Open Africa can continue to provide the services so needed by these growing businesses. Thank you EON for contributing to getting Africa to work.
Read on to learn more about some of the businesses that stand to benefit from EON’s contribution:
Amangwe Zulu Crafts
Amangwe Zulu Crafts were matched to the manufacturing of crafts from recycled materials. The project is jointly managed by women elected from the community and includes crafters and experienced volunteers in design, financial management and marketing. The aim is to provide an opportunity for rural people to use traditional craft skills to increase their family income and to maintain and promote the intricate and sophisticated beading tradition of the Amangwe Tribe. Current needs of the group include broadening their markets and building the capacity of the crafters with regard to financial management, product development and business management.
King Steve Travel & Tours
King Steve Travel & Tours were matched with the opportunity to provide a transfer or tour operator service. King Steve Travel & Tours is run by a local tour guide that started the business after being a guide at the Monk’s Cowl Nature Reserve in the Drakensberg. Steve has a number of tours on offer, including cultural and adventure tours. The business has been in operation for two years, but a number of aspects were identified that, if addressed, could significantly improve his business. This includes proper business planning, marketing, business management training and access to finance.
African Spirit is a small craft outlet located in Estcourt and is run by Michael Shabalala and registered as a cooperative. Michael supports approximately 20 rural women through selling crafts that they produce. The shop is located in an ideal position in a charming old station building in the centre of town. The shop also has the potential to serve as a small coffee shop, something that Michael is trying to get off the ground. While Michael is passionate about the business, he lacks the support and guidance to take the enterprise to the next level so to speak. Needs that were identified for African Spirit include business planning, business management training, craft product development, access to finance and markets and marketing.
Mpophomeni Agricultural Cooperative
The cooperative is made up of seven active members that produce a range of vegetables for the local market. The group has secured a piece of land from the Umngeni Municipality and has been producing vegetables successfully for approximately two years. The group receives limited assistance from the Department of Agriculture that mostly entails providing seeds and seedlings. One of the main challenges the group face is access to a market. While produce is currently sold locally, the size of the market is not sufficient, meaning that all the produce can often not be sold. Howick has a number of accommodation establishments and restaurants that could easily be encouraged to purchase the vegetables from the group as the quality of the produce is good. The group currently has no way of transporting the produce and this poses significant challenges in growing their business. The group has also expressed a need for training and guidance in managing the business and finances and would be eager to learn more about successful farming practices.