Collective action through Advisory Boards drives small business growth

DECEMBER 1, 2016

The Hope Factory has implemented the idea of establishing advisory Boards as part of their Entrepreneurial Development Programme for Enterprise and Supplier Development within the context of B-BBEE.

An Advisory Board is a group of industry experts who provide know-how and strategic advice to small businesses. They provide valuable input to business structuring and management and may also provide the latest industry news. From their own experience they offer guidance and advice on operations, legal matters, finance, manufacturing, organization and the competition to benefit the business being evaluated.

One of the biggest advantages of an Advisory Board is that it provides a fresh perspective by looking at the business from an unbiased point of view. It gives an opportunity for the panel members to identify strengths and shortcomings of business operations and policies that the owners/management of a company may often be missing.

During 2016, The Hope Factory, Port Elizabeth Branch, arranged two advisory Board sessions - in July and August. Seven entrepreneurs on the programme benefited from this service offering, namely Sandisiwe Kiti of Mayihlome Human Capital Solutions, Kerwin Pillay of Kerwin’s Pre-owned Tyres, Buyile Mtimkulu of Busko’s Rim Repair, Sakumzi Bambalaza of Saki’s Shuttle Services, Mosa Dikoba of Citrus Green Solutions, Leah Quntana of Our Health, Our Wealth and Violet Lupuwana of Chumile Consulting. It was an eye-opening experience for many of these entrepreneurs, having an external non-bias expert analyzing their business and making suggestion that could bring improvements and lead to further business growth.

Buyile Mtimkulu from Busko Rim Repairs said, “I want to thank The Hope Factory for such a wonderful panel meeting. It was an amazing experience. I was motivated and I have also grown as a business man. If more interventions like this can be arranged, it would have a significant influence on our businesses.”

Local business experts on the panel, all offering their time pro bono as a way of supporting entrepreneurial growth, were Ian Whittal from Grindstone Properties, Mark Huppelschoten from Radisson Blu and Mark Bakker from BMI.

Mark Huppelschoten, responded as follow: “It was an absolute pleasure for me to be involved. Thank you for the opportunity. This has always been a big passion of mine”. Mark Bakker echoed in response stating that “I found the time spent very interesting, informative and enlightening”.

These advisory Board sessions create an excellent and effective link between small business owners and well established individuals in the private sector. We have recognized the importance of bridging this gap to ensure that small business owners grow their businesses and become sustainable. A sustainable small business has the opportunity to make a great impact on the growth of our economy through job creation and increased economic activity.

Advisory Board members are not directors in the traditional sense. They do not serve in a governance role or represent shareholders or other stakeholders. They simply provide advice to the entrepreneur about achieving current business goals.