Over a number of years, many aspiring entrepreneurs have benefited from Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut’s (AHi) entrepreneurship courses that are offered within South Africa. This unique range of entrepreneurship courses are rolled out in collaboration with business chambers and aims to create training, mentorship, business ideas and funding opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. As a member of BUSA, the AHi seeks to elevate this programme under the auspices of BUSA and expand it nationwide. Countrywide, 15 groups, each consisting of 30 young people, have already attended these courses.
These courses are followed up by a mentorship programme and several additional information sessions, which actively harness the expertise available within the respective business chambers. For example, Dr Willie Celliers, chairperson of the George Business Chamber, is currently conducting financial training for prospective and emerging entrepreneurs in the Southern Cape. Business leaders in other business chambers also share their experience and knowledge with aspiring entrepreneurs.
The National Development Plan (NDP) emphasises the importance of small business and the crucial role this sector plays in job creation. AHi is already in talks with The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA), with a view towards highlighting available franchise opportunities to entrepreneurs. Funding made available by the Jobs Fund will also make it easier for prospective entrepreneurs to acquire a franchise and receive extensive training.
A number of local business chambers have introduced the entrepreneurial training programme in places such as Eersterust, Hammanskraal, Mossel Bay, George, Robertson, Bonnievale, Bethelsdorp, Vanderbijl Park, Oudtshoorn, Tsitsikamma, Kwattu San Cultural Centre near Atlantis, Potchefstroom, Modimolle and Olievenhoutbosch. Training in Bothaville, Malmesbury, Bredasdorp and QwaQwa will follow soon.
Business chambers in each region take responsibility for marketing the programme among aspiring entrepreneurs, arrange suitable venues and recruit sponsorships to cover the costs of refreshments and accommodation for the trainer. The training, which takes place over a five-day period, is followed by an intensive incubation programme.
The AHi is one of South Africa's leading organised business network movements and an active member of BUSA.
Trias, as part of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce, contributes liberally to the financing of the project. Corporate members of the AHi, such as Toyota, also assist with financing. AHi staff members have also been invited by Trias to help shape the training programme and strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa through the implementation of innovative ideas.
The Department of Trade and Industry and other institutions are called upon to support the AHi in its efforts to create opportunities for young people who are eager to start their own enterprises.
Business chambers also benefit from the training of young people in entrepreneurship. Not only does it bring a renewed sense and energy to the business chambers, but it also helps them to become more representative of all business people in their respective regions.
The AHi is one of South Africa's leading organised business network movements and an active member of BUSA. Under the auspices of BUSA, this programme can be implemented nationwide and, with further assistance by the newly established Ministry of Small Businesses Development, thousands of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs can be assisted and empowered.