KwaZakhele accountant Bathulile Mdabula (30) of Bathulile LPPG Consulting is one of 18 Nelson Mandela Bay entrepreneurs who were today graduated from the fifth phase of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber enterprise development programme of 2018/19.
Aimed at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of Nelson Mandela Bay businesses, ECDC has injected R1,547 million into the programme since the 2014/15 financial year with 119 enterprises going through the five phases of the programme. Of the total of 119, 82 businesses successfully completed the requirements of the programme. The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber plays an important programme management role and on graduation, the businesses will receive one-year free Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber membership and they will benefit from networking opportunities.
“Since joining the programme my business has seen unexpected growth. When I joined I didn’t know how to market my business. The programme has taught me marketing, sales and networking skills. My business got to grow within the programme by securing clients from other businesses participating in the programme.
I got to participate in other enterprise development programmes such as those of the Small Enterprise Development Agency, and the National Youth Development Agency through this programme. My focus is on the township market and I have developed a plan to assist township-based entrepreneurs with accounting and bookkeeping services,” says Mdabula.
The Nelson Mandela University BComm Accounting graduate whose business has grown from a part-time interest to a full-time business since it was registered in 2013 says her company specialises in accounting and taxation services, bookkeeping, accounting systems and training.
The programme was rolled out over a period of nine months with the graduates being equipped in areas such as leadership, marketing and financial management. The combination of trainings is conducted and assessed by the Nelson Mandela University Business School as well as through a direct focus on soft skills training by the Business Chamber. Entrepreneurs are mentored by experienced mentors such as Tradelane.
The other graduating businesses on Thursday are Kangobuzz, Azolanda Trading, Psalm Joyful Beauty, Sinelite, Zoqoqosho, Abakwazondi Holdings, Stewarts Solutions, Celistax, Belleza, Roland Electrical, Genesis DLM Trading and Construction, Black Dot Civils, Injongo SSS, JK Connected, IMG Designs, Misa Property Solutions and MoreGworks Holdings. Nine other businesses received certificates of attendance. The enterprises operate in sectors such construction, transport, financial services, manufacturing, accommodation, beauty and catering.
“The 18 graduates today are drawn from an initial crop of 30 enterprises which were selected to participate in the fifth phase which started in May 2018 until February 2019. The programme is aimed at building the competitiveness of Nelson Mandela Bay businesses as well as to build their sustainability and viability.
“The programme helps participants understand the elements of market-readiness, growing their businesses and sustainable job creation. The programme offers an effective combination of mentorship and skills development,” says ECDC chief executive officer Ndzondelelo Dlulane.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber operations manager Prince Matonsi says the intensive programme requires participants to attend 80% of all the NMB Business School classroom courses, 22 hours of counselling, mentoring and coaching as well as attending five coffee morning sessions aimed at developing their soft skills at the Business Chamber.
“The common goal between the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and ECDC is to ensure the programme produces tangible outcomes which should result in business viability, improved competitiveness and market access opportunities. We are already looking forward to the sixth phase of the programme,” says Matonsi.