Enterprise development – An innovative and empowering investment

As South Africa continues to grapple with the seemingly endless challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment, which have only been exacerbated by the economic lockdown and rampant corruption, the urgency of implementing effective programmes to achieve poverty alleviation and economic upliftment has never been greater. The B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice provide a measure of encouragement to businesses by promoting investment in the various scorecard elements in order to boost economic growth, however it is essential that the overriding priority of any initiative should be effecting real and meaningful change in people’s lives.

Investing in Enterprise Development programmes provides the ideal starting point for addressing poverty by creating opportunities that allow previously disadvantaged individuals to become involved in productive activities. Enterprise Development initiatives allow companies to invest time, money and resources to support the establishment, expansion and development of small businesses. These programmes therefore provide an effective instrument to assist individuals to overcome poverty and earn a living, leading to long-term economic growth for themselves, their families and their communities.

The dismal unemployment situation we currently face demands urgent and sustained programmes targeted towards job creation. It is imperative that initiatives are structured to include the vital element of Skills Development to empower people in order to reduce unemployment, increase wages and improve standards of living.

Progression has created an exciting and inspiring new concept – hosted Enterprise Development hubs. The aim of this model is for companies to invest in educating and growing new learners in an environment that will enhance and develop their skills to benefit their overall career prospects.

The hubs are structured as SMMEs which are linked to skills development for previously disadvantaged learners and the intention is that these small businesses can become sustainable and thrive on their own, without necessarily relying on corporate South Africa for employment or absorption. The hubs can also support and supply each other with services, thereby creating a supply chain across the various hubs.

Each hub is developed to allow learners an opportunity to establish a business which they can benefit from, either through employment or potential profit share, thereby creating a more sustainable future for themselves. This could also assist companies that invest in these programmes to create opportunities for Enterprise Development for themselves or other investors, linked to B-BBEE. If the learners choose to leave the hub, they will also be equipped with the necessary skills and equipment to manage on their own. The programme can also lead to absorption within the hub and/or perhaps create a talent pool from which the investing company can recruit future employees. Continuous investment in this programme could also, in turn, establish an academy whereby the company can invest in learners on an ongoing basis.

The end goal is for these hubs to eventually become sustainable businesses that grow and result in job creation. The focus is on skills transfer and creating employment opportunities in order to generate broader long term economic growth for all.

Progression’s Enterprise Development model therefore makes it possible to leverage the various elements of the B-BBEE scorecard in order to realise true empowerment and achieve maximum benefit for all parties involved, as illustrated below.

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