KOMANI YOUTH FINDING VALUE IN ENTREPENEURSHIP (By : Yanga Ziwele (BKCOB Marketing)
Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) play a vital role in economic growth, and as such, the Komani Chamber has instituted an SMME mentorship programme to promote entrepreneurial behaviour. The programme, spearheaded by BKCOB Administrator Adre Bartis, runs over 12 months with a graduation ceremony in December. It has received interest from the NMU Business School and negotiations are currently underway to get them to accredit the programme. Chumani Calvin Nelani is one of the first young entrepreneurs who has participated in the programme and attests to the role played by mentorship in honing his skills as an up-and-coming business owner.
“I had interpersonal challenges, but since joining the mentorship programme I have learnt to communicate properly, and use business language. The Chamber also gathers reputable business people into one building, which makes it easy to sell your business ideas and network with possible collaborators,” he said. In his capacity, Nelani runs the GET IT DONE open market, an annual event that functions as a platform for entrepreneurs to expand their networks and get access to information. Fashion enthusiast and designer, Ziphozihle Rapiyana joined the programme in October 2018 and has since seen tremendous growth in her business, Beautiful Enlightenment Trading. She was recently chosen as one of the designers whose work was showcased at the Berlin November fashion show, one of the province’s most esteemed events. Rapiyana attests that sometimes, young entrepreneurs, especially in the arts, focus on the creative aspects and not the actual business of conducting business. “I was only concentrating on the creative side of the business and the admin was falling short. This year we were assigned amazing mentors. Now I know about bookkeeping and how much money goes in and out of my business,” she said.
Conducting business in the current economic climate, at one of the Eastern Cape’s most underdeveloped areas comes with a host of challenges, but these two are determined to see their businesses thrive. “I would encourage young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, take responsibility for their dreams and never let any opportunity slide away. Be positive, associate yourself with like-minded people and succeed,” said Calvin. Zipho who runs her business alone is also the sole provider for her mother and young daughter. “My biggest motivation is that I believe that this is not just a business, I am slowly building something that will outlive me, a legacy. This is one of the things we’ve learnt in the programme. We’re not just building businesses, we’re building empires.”