One of the aims of the Centre for Applied Entrepreneurship at USB Executive Development Ltd (USB-ED) is to make a contribution to the development of communities throughout Africa by equipping individuals with suitable entrepreneurial and business management attitudes, knowledge and skills.
“This can only be achieved by creating a sustainable system that will produce the kind of entrepreneurs that communities need. This, in turn, will create more jobs,” says De Wet Schoeman, who heads up the Centre.
To drive this system the Centre has designed a multi-level entrepreneur development process. The purpose of the process is to offer a comprehensive system of training and support activities within the various communities. The original process was designed and piloted in cooperation with Coventry University, and sponsored by the British Council. An overview of the process was presented at an international conference on Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship and the Common Good
at Rennes University during 2011. The paper forms part of a publication which appeared under the same title earlier this year. Co-authored by Maas and Schoeman, the paper, Seeking a conceptual framework for the development and support of rural entrepreneurs in South Africa
, highlights the context of the entrepreneurship challenge in South Africa and seeks to provide a conceptual framework for the effective promotion of entrepreneurship and SMMEs in rural and poor communities throughout South Africa.
Further to this, the development process was rolled out in the Cape Winelands during the first months of 2012, with the District Municipality sponsoring training for a group of 90 SMMEs. The training takes place at various levels, and so far Levels 1 and 2 have been delivered by the Stellenbosch Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development Trust (SEED). Currently two groups of seven entrepreneurs are in the process of completing Level 3. This level consists of a two-day business development workshop, followed by a coaching period of three months. The focus is on teaching participants to analyse their businesses and develop action plans to improve and grow their businesses. It is on this level where real job creation starts to manifest itself.
“The Centre for Applied Entrepreneurship hopes that the process will gradually gain momentum and that its benefits can be spread to other areas as well,” says Schoeman.