Small and medium-sized enterprises make up more than 98% of South Africa’s business landscape, but they only earn a 40% share of the country’s GDP – which is why giving entrepreneurs the skills to scale their businesses is not only good for their businesses, it’s good for the economy. The Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme aims to give entrepreneurs the support and skills they need to grow their businesses, through an eight-month initiative that will feature extensive coaching and guidance from experienced businesspeople.
The programme is based on a wealth of research that shows mentorship has a direct impact on business growth and improves the chances of a business’ success during the start-up phase. Entrepreneurs who frequently engage with a mentor develop better decision-making skills, tend to feel more inspired, more confident and less isolated.
Each entrepreneur will have one-on-one mentoring based on their individual needs, which will improve their management abilities and help them scale their company, says Hanli Brink, Operations Manager at Stellenbosch Network – an organisation working to develop knowledge and innovation in the greater Stellenbosch-area.
“Most entrepreneurs are unable to engage in full-time training, as they dedicate the majority of their time to running their business. This is where the Programme steps in – it offers a practical and time-efficient learning solution for business owners by allowing them to determine the frequency of their interactions with their mentor,” said Brink.
Mentor Lesley Bam says the programme creates a platform for entrepreneurs to be supported and it gives them an opportunity to support one another through networking. “Many entrepreneurs have the skills they are offering as a product or service, but they might not have enough business skills (and support) to make their business grow into a successful and profitable business. This motivated me to give back to the community out there and share my learnings and experiences as a business owner and a leadership coach,” said Bam.
Mentee Rinae Musekene, who participated in the programme in 2021, benefited from the tailored, practical advice offered by the mentorship programme – something he says is lacking in many other business training programmes. “The programme helped with the big questions we had to answer. We were in the process of finalizing a major deal with an institution so as young entrepreneurs having someone with over two decades of experience helped us navigate these uncharted waters,” Musekene says. The programme also helped Musekene set up a vision and strategy for the next five years.
Fellow entrepreneur Lynne Rippenaar-Moses mentioned that the mentorship allowed her to effectively deal with numerous challenges that came up during the year. “Women entrepreneurs from my generation do not always get opportunities like this to develop as entrepreneurs. I was at a point where I wanted to expand my business but needed some guidance on how to determine if my business was at a point where expanding made financial sense and how to go about doing it,” she said. Rippenaar-Moses was paired with a mentor in the same field who could relate to the challenges she faced. “The mentorship helped me build more confidence as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship requires quite a bit of confidence - even over-confidence - for a business to succeed,” she added.
Mentor Daneel van Zyl said that while he had the opportunity to share some of his experiences with young entrepreneurs, he was also able to learn from them. “I have skills that they didn’t, and they had skills that I didn’t. It was great to be able to learn from each other and gain a different perspective,” Van Zyl added.
How to apply:
Applications for the Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme close on 4 March 2022. To apply, please complete and submit the application form to email@example.com along with the relevant documentation, which can be downloaded here: www.stellenboschnetwork.co.za/event/entrepreneurial-mentorship-programme-2022/
The application form is one of the most important documents used by the Stellenbosch Network to evaluate your suitability for the programme.
To participate in the Programme, eligible applicants must:
The final selection is at the discretion of the Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme Selection Committee.
Once selected, each participant will have two hours of mentee training, to map out their role and that of their mentor. They will be about the benefits of mentorship, how to build trust, as well as how to prepare for the mentorship relationship. They will then participate in a two-hour match-making session, in which they will be paired with a mentor. Each participant will receive 10-12 hours of mentoring support during the Programme’s duration.
Mentors: If you would like to become a mentor of the programme and make a difference in a small Entrepreneurs’ business, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, go to www.stellenboschnetwork.co.za
About Stellenbosch Network:
The Stellenbosch Network is a cross-sector and inter-disciplinary organisation that brings people together – from industry, government, society and academia – to stimulate connections, collaboration and partnerships in support of inclusive economic growth for the Stellenbosch area and surrounds.