In the heartland of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, a dynamic enterprise development programme is helping local entrepreneurs soar to new heights. By stimulating economic activity in the Bafokeng villages, the Royal Bafokeng Enterprise Development programme is creating jobs and reducing poverty.
The overarching vision and mission of the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) is to be a relevant and innovative traditional community in a changing world. In line with this vision, the Royal Bafokeng’s Enterprise Development (RBED) programme aims to create an enabling environment for the prosperity of current and future generations by developing the people, the economy and the land. The RBN’s enterprise development strategy is based on a three-tiered approach built on the premise that all members of the nation are entitled and should have access to support for growing their ventures.
On the bottom tier are general enterprise development services aimed at empowering and identifying promising entrepreneurs. Twenty percent of the programme’s budget is spent on this tier of entrepreneurship. The second tier of the programme focuses on the needs of a shortlisted group of high-potential SMMEs and includes incubation, resource support and mentorship. Eighty percent of programme resources are invested in the development of this tier of SMMEs. The top tier focuses on mature SMMEs. These ventures stimulate SMME revenue growth for the RBN.
The RBED programme is supporting small businesses across 29 villages, collectively employing more than 4 000 people. With the support of the programme, many entrepreneurs have flourished in the market place. One such success story is that of Waste Ease Primary Co-operative. Waste Ease, with founder Thabo Pitsoe at the helm, is a waste management recycling company with 15 employees at its Lefaragatlhe plant. Like most entrepreneurial journeys, the road has not always been smooth. In the start-up phase, Waste Ease received support from Xstrata and the Buyisa Buy Back programme with start-up capital for their plant. A common business principle for start-ups is that the first two years are the toughest. This is why RBED exists; to support businesses through the hardest stages, and Waste Ease certainly appreciated this support.
After the initial start-up, Waste Ease hit a not-so-easy spot, and after receiving grant funding from Fraser Alexander, the RBED assisted to revitalise the project in a co-operative and replace equipment that had been damaged. The RBED helped secure additional funding from Anglo Platinum which allowed for the purchase of vehicles and equipment to assist in growing the business. Today, Waste Ease has become a thriving business. Recently the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has agreed to fund further improvement of the facilities, including a weighbridge and paving, and to fund a stipend for waste collectors feeding into the buyback centre.
Measuring and celebrating progress
The most important aspect of the RBED programme is the longterm sustainability of the beneficiary SMMEs. The programme leaders use a partnership approach, which sees seamless co-operation between SMMEs, market players and RBN leadership for the benefit of the wider community. In order to track and monitor RBED-supported SMMEs, a robust online monitoring and evaluation system has been developed to measure their progress. A beneficiary SMME is evaluated on four levels: administrative; compliance; sustainability; and performance development criteria. The M&E tool scores SMMEs on their maturity levels and uses these indices to evaluate and assign the correct type and level of mentorship or resource support most relevant to the SMME at a particular stage of development. This robust framework for engaging with entrepreneurs and recording their progress, and acknowledging and celebrating growth as they mature, has proved an effective method for enterprise and community development.
Contact: Ian Venter Acting Head of Department: Royal Bafokeng Enterprise Development email@example.com Cont 014 589 3001