Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) stand a better chance of success if large businesses share their skills and expertise with SMEs, says global consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G).
“We have often heard . . . that the innate creativity and enthusiasm of South Africans means that we are ideally suited to be small-business owners. While we may indeed have an abundance of innovative and dedicated individuals . . . resourcefulness alone does not guarantee success. After all, five out of seven small businesses in South Africa fail after less than two years of being in operation,” says P&G sub-Saharan Africa corporate social investment associate director Khululiwe Mabaso.
She asserts that, in aid of contributing to skills transfer and developing more sustainable businesses, the company started the P&G Leadership College in October last year. The Business Skills Academy, in South Africa, serves as a business incubator for a few selected entrepreneurs, some of whom are in the P&G supply chain.
“The key essential role of the college is to ensure that SME owners are given business knowledge that would help grow their businesses, increase access to markets and stimulate their profits,” Mabaso comments.
She highlights that, one of the long-touted potential solutions to South Africa’s unemployment crisis is entrepreneurship, as the current official unemployment rate is 26.7%.
Mabaso says SMEs fail for various reasons, but essentially, no funding, poor access to markets, as well a lack of experience, knowledge and support, are the primary causes.
The courses offered at the P&G Leadership College include business models; sales and marketing; personal mastery; social media; leadership; compliance; human resources; strategy formulation; operations and project management; looking for funding; finance; business simulation; business plan and presentation skills as well as legal aspects.
Although it might seem that starting a business is relatively easy, maintaining it steadily and profitably takes skill and practice, Mabaso notes.
She highlights that the beneficiaries of the college have to meet certain requirements, which include having a registered South African-owned company that is operational.
Mabaso points out that entrepreneurs and business owners Phumlani Kunene and Busi Skenjana have both participated in the P&G courses and own successful businesses. She adds that, even though they have now completed the eight-month course, they are still being mentored to ensure their businesses remain sustainable and successful.
Mabaso concludes that the classes at the P&G Leadership College are presented by P&G employees, who are experts in their respective fields, and other small business owners, who know the pitfalls of trying to establish a successful enterprise.