Posted on February 25, 2010
The entrepreneurs received training and mentorship from the academics and mentors from the School of Entrepreneurship, but in order to get their businesses off the ground they needed essential operational equipment. The entrepreneurs businesses include fashion design, catering, laundry services, transport services and a dress making school.
Baba Selabe, the owner of Babakang Dressmaking School was overwhelmed at the gifts and is anticipating all the new opportunities that the initiative has made possible for her. She is also looking forward to contributing to skills development in her community. “I have walked a long journey and I have learned that it is never too late to achieve your dreams. Thank you to CE at UP and my mentors”, said Selabe.
The project has also been a rewarding experience for the mentors who were involved in the training of the entrepreneurs. Richardt Kok, one of the mentors, said that he admires the level of enthusiasm, perseverance and creativity with which these entrepreneurs approach their respectful vocations. “Through the feedback from the entrepreneurs’ side, I have yet again realised the importance and relevance of entrepreneurship in South Africa. The basic premise of the mentorship programme is to instil an entrepreneurial thought. In my opinion, the success of this programme cannot only be measured in numbers and the level of economic activity of entrepreneurs, but also in the realisation of the possible opportunities accorded to these promising business minds”, said Kok.
According to Deon Herbst, CEO of Continuing Education at University of Pretoria, the project started in April last year and since then 450 people have received training to become entrepreneurs. “We are proud that this project has come to fruition and that were are in a position to give back to the community, not just in training but in real tangible goods. It has been an incredible experience to be part of this project”, said Herbst.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Pretoria, Professor Nthabiseng Ogude, who is also the Chairperson of the Board of the Trustees at CE at UP, also attested to the fact that a real difference is being made in people’s lives. “This has been a heart warming occasion and it has been a great initiative to be part of. Many people talk about community engagement but seeing this in action really brings it into focus. CE at UP is doing well to engage the community and make a real difference”, said Professor Ogude.
The entrepreneur’s performance will be monitored over the next three years to determine growth and sustainability of the small enterprises.
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