Deloitte's Succeed campaign will help boost success of SA entrepreneurs
We all know that if South Africa is to have any hope of growing the economy and reducing unemployment, the SMME sector needs to flourish. And for small businesses to grow, they need mentoring and guidance.
Last year, Deloitte relaunched the Succeed Campaign in partnership with the Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) and Business Partners to assist women entrepreneurs in their small businesses. The programme was initially established in 2004 by Sandy Pullinger, a software entrepreneur and driven by the BWA and Business Partners on a smaller scale than it is now. After a successful pilot in the new format during 2007, the Deloitte’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is now calling for new participants in the programme.
Succeed is a programme which provides multi-disciplinary business advisory teams to assist women entrepreneurs. To become part of the programme, women should be the controlling shareholder in their business and fulfill any one of the following criteria:
“Entrepreneurs often have a great product or service but don’t necessarily have all the skills required to run a successful business. Succeed serves as a source of advice and support to enable women entrepreneurs to better develop their businesses. We provide advice on finance, sales, marketing, operations, human resources, legal and information technology, depending on the individual business’s requirements,” commented Dee Botha, chairman of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Deloitte. “However, we do not impose our ideas on the participants; the decision making, implementation and accountability still remain with the entrepreneurs.”
Deloitte matches entrepreneurs to mentors at a ‘speed matching’ session to ensure that each participant has access to the different skills of three to four professionals throughout the programme. “We aim to provide well-rounded advice with a measurable impact on the business,” explained Botha.
During the 2007 programme, 24 women from a broad selection of industries including dentistry, furniture manufacturing, gas installations, management consulting, and construction started the programme with their own unique goals and areas of desired improvement.
“We are cognisant of the fact that there are women entrepreneurs who have the drive to succeed but due to lack of access to capital and experience or the necessary training have little chance of surviving past the start-up phase. Through our intervention, we aim to play a role in uplifting individuals in this important sector of the economy,” she said.
Some of the participants in the 2007 programme included:
Lindeni Sekhokoane of Ebodweni Traders, a civil engineering firm
“The advisers conducted an assessment of my business and identified areas of improvement and tailor-made a programme to help me achieve my goals. I started my business in 2005 and needed a turnaround. I am now taking courses in cash flow management and marketing in order to ensure that my business is self-sustaining. In order to achieve this, I have learned to make sure that I always have something lined up before I complete a project.”
Through the programme Lindeni obtained a R200 000.00 contract to provide prefabricated buildings for an international NGO.
Ayanda Tetyana of Ayapumy Stained Glass Work has a vision to grow her business into a supplier to the hotel industry. Her unique African-themed designs set her apart from other stained glass manufacturers.
“Succeed has helped me to understand branding, especially the importance of creating a strong brand and protecting its reputation.”
Sonto Gumbi of Black Child Promotions found that the Succeed programme helped streamline her business, particularly in the area of finance. “My cashflow has improved radically. In fact, my whole business which involves staffing for promotional events has been raised to a higher level as a result of the programme.”
Jenni Hannibal of Elegant Line Trading supplies hardware for curtaining to the decorating industry and says that she was very lucky with the people who helped her on the programme. “Their encouragement and insight were invaluable and allowed me to grow my business to the point where I now need larger premises.”
These participants in the Succeed programme unanimously commended the commitment of their advisers in spite of their own responsibilities. Deloitte’s WLI, the BWA and Business Partners believe that the Succeed Campaign is a step in creating an environment which is conducive to the success of SMMEs.
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