Small and medium enterprises (SME) are described as the engine of an economy. According to the World Bank, SMEs represent 90% of businesses and account for more than 50% of employment worldwide.
However, small businesses often encounter challenges which impede growth or fail due to the lack of business management expertise, cash flow issues, access to markets, and a number of other factors.
To this end, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) established the Volkswagen Business Support Centre in Kariega, in collaboration with Raizcorp, to develop the entrepreneurial ability, resilience and business acumen of entrepreneurs who run small businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Since its inception in 2011, many entrepreneurs who have participated in the programme have attained business success. To date, the centre has developed 137 businesses, generating a collective turnover of R640 million in the Eastern Cape, with an average turnover growth rate of 61%. An additional 604 new jobs have been created during this time, and 1 608 people were employed by these businesses while on the programme. Furthermore, 3 866 walk-in visitors from the community have received business advice since August 2015.
VWSA Corporate and Government Affairs Director, Nonkqubela Maliza, says small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are an essential vehicle to address the challenges of unemployment, economic growth, and perhaps most importantly, equitable distribution of income among South African citizens from all walks of life. “The Volkswagen Business Support Centre was established to encourage small business success and create employment,” said Maliza.
The latest cohort of entrepreneurs recently graduated after following a rigorous three-year programme. The graduates successfully completed the Business Commercialisation Programme, the Comprehensive Enterprise Development Programme and the Supply Chain Support Programme for Levels P, M and E.
Guest speaker at the graduation ceremony, Sanda Mntundini, who graduated in 2017, said the Volkswagen Business Support Centre changed his life and contributed to the success of his transportation business. “After my business reached a low point and landed me in significant debt, I joined the Volkswagen Business Support Centre’s entrepreneurship programme. I acquired new skills which helped to attract new clients and my business has since grown by 40%,” said Mntundini.
Guy Taylor, Raizcorp Prosperator Manager, commended the graduates for persevering. “The programme is intensive and demanding, but the participants showed tenacity to continue. Now they are reaping the rewards of their labour,” he said.
The Volkswagen Business Support Centre invites small to medium businesses that need support to apply online on www.raizcorp.com.