The SEDA Enterprise Coaching program is a 10 month long entrepreneurship development program that seeks to increase the economic participation of black businesses in the mainstream economy and in so doing contribute to higher economic growth and job creation. The program is administered by SEDA provincially and the third instalment of the program in Amajuba District took place between September 2017 and August 2018. Thegraduation event held on 02 November 2018 marked the successful conclusion of the program in Amajuba District. From an initial pool of 30 companies, 27 were selected and four dropped for various reasons hence 23 graduated successfully.
The programme is structured in such manner that a qualified business coach manages the program and sets its agenda jointly with the mentees. Qualitech Business Consultancy was the nominated business coach for Amajuba’smaiden instalment of the program. During the program, mentees enjoyed insights not only from the coach but organisations such as Ithala Bank, Department of Labour, Department of Agriculture, MentecFoundation and SABS who all made valuable contributions during the program.
Mentees came from different economic sectors such as accommodation establishments, farming enterprises, light manufacturing companies, personal beauty and retail services showing the inclusive nature of the program. The mentorship opportunities are not limited to Newcastle only but the entire Amajuba District. SMEs as far as Vryheid, Paulpietersberg, Utrecht and Dannhausserparticipated.
Key financial metrics show that the mentorship program was a success. 14 of the 23 companies that completed the program recorded double digit turnover growth during the period; while 6 enterprises which represents about a quarter of the group doubled their turnover. The benefits to the economy are immense in view of the increased output that these SMEs now contribute to the local economy. Turnover and Net employment from participating businesses grew by 22% and 5% respectively. That said it must be remembered that these successes were recorded in a tough economic environment where many large and small businesses experienced losses or very subdued growth rates. More benefits of the program are yet to be realised as the participants continue to implement the systems and strategies learnt as well as explore the networking opportunities created during the program.
All entrepreneurs across the district are encouraged to contact their SEDA branch for information about the next program or any other business development offerings that the agency offers. These include business plans, feasibility assessment, and implementation of key systems in the business and skills training. The selection process is open and fair and key determinants of selection into any of the agency’s programs are the investor’s level of commitment to both his/her business and to learning as well as the innovation capacity of the business among others.