The Global Entrepreneurship Week came to East London for the first time from November 13-16.
It began in Mdantsane and continued on to Duncan Village and Southernwood, Komani and Qonce.
The East London edition is being hosted by local entrepreneur Yolisa Ndhlovu in partnership with The Traveling Circus and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. The aim of the initiative is to empower budding entrepreneurs and assist them in growing their small business ideas.
Local businesses and organisations including Bumb’ Ingomso, Harry’s Printers, SEDA, Gehring Engineering and SA Arts and Culture Forum have partnered with Ndhlovu on this project.
The initiative has been successful in more than 200 countries by sparking essential dialogues and facilitating the growth of small businesses.
“We have had good reception so far.
“Entrepreneurs have communicated their need for support and the need to be within a community that supports them. Some are in need of support and mentorship around how to build a business, marketing and finances.
“This is where the NGOs came in. They shared their skills so that young people can grow up with business development skills. It was a very fruitful session. People are very welcoming of the idea of the Global Entrepreneurship Week and building a community of entrepreneurs,” Ndhlovu said.
Ndhlovu expressed the need for this type of initiative for the youth of BCM because of how difficult it can be to adapt small businesses to the tough economy.
“The unemployment rate is very high in the Eastern Cape, so we need to find ways of engaging youth especially those who have businesses or interested in starting a business.
The entrepreneurship journey can be a lonely road so we need to build business communities to support youth entrepreneurship. We also need existing small businesses and corporate to join forces in supporting youth entrepreneurship and businesses in townships and rural areas for market access and growth,” Ndhlovu said.
Ndhlovu opted for a roadshow rather than a single location event to make it accessible to as many young people as possible and continue to promote easier access to business opportunities for all.
“The long-term goal for our initiative is to have an active entrepreneurial ecosystem within the communities so that we can do business with each other. Then it is to support businesses through existing channels, such as development agencies, to gain market access into other provinces in the country.
“The ultimate goal is connecting entrepreneurs to trade and supporting them to build sustainable and profitable businesses,” Ndhlovu said.