Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber opens Enterprise Development Programme

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Applications have opened for the third set of small business owners to boost their businesses by participating in the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s sought-after Enterprise Development Programme.

The Enterprise Development Programme was first launched in 2014, followed by the pilot group of business owners and managers graduating in June last year. The second phase was launched in July 2015, and saw a new group of 30 participants graduating in December last year.

20 to 30 small business owners and managers at a time participate in each phase of the programme, which develops skills to enhance and grow small businesses. While the 2014/15 programmes focussed on enhancing eligibility for funding, assisting with export-readiness, and giving insights into new markets, the 2016/17 programme will also cover elements of compliance, marketing as well as access to funding.

The Eastern Cape Development Corporation’s support has been key to the success of the programme.

The ECDC has partnered with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber over the past three years in supporting the Enterprise Development Programme, said Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler.

“The ECDC is also a sponsor of our International Desk. As one of our valued partners, I would like to acknowledge their commitment in partnering with us over the next 18 months in support of growing entrepreneurs in Nelson Mandela Bay,” Hustler said.

The vast majority of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber members are small to medium sized companies (with less than 50 employees per company), and for this reason it is essential for the Business Chamber to offer a targeted programme for the emerging companies in our region.

“Small businesses are recognised as the engines of the Eastern Cape economy. We want to see our members begin to operate sustainable businesses that will grow into new markets, and create new, much-needed opportunities for employment and job creation,” Hustler said.

Participants in the previous two phases of the programme included owners and managers of a variety of different companies in various sectors, including business services, hospitality, media and information technology - operational for a minimum of three years.

One participant said the programme helped her further develop her company.

“Completing the Enterprise Development Programme has helped me gain a better understanding of my business, and further assisted me plan for the future. I was initially struggling to get my business to the level that I would like it to be. Now that I have completed the programme, I am eager to implement the lessons taught to me,” she said.

Another participant said networking with other entrepreneurs was very valuable. “Tips during interaction at the different courses were very useful.”

“The courses were relevant and helpful and gave me a better understanding of my business. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the ED Programme and would love to attend similar programmes in the future.”