“Imagine the impact on unemployment if every sole proprietor or small business in South Africa could hire just one person.” This is the challenge set by Julia Finnis-Bedford, former president of the Entrepreneurship’ Organisation (EO), as a new cohort of 17 start-up founders join the Bootcamp to Boardroom programme.
The nine-month programme is presented by EO’s Cape Town chapter in partnership with top business owners from Cape Town, including M-Net’s Shark Tank judge Dawn Nathan-Jones, and Nathan Jones, chief executive of the Over The Rainbow Foundation.
No ad to show here.
The Bootcamp to Boardroom programme was founded by Finnis-Bedford who believes that entrepreneurship and self-employment offer the biggest opportunity to create jobs in South Africa.
Participating entrepreneurs receiving monthly mentorship in all areas of business – from marketing and sales to finance, leadership, pitching, and strategy. The programme also covers personal development, which adds a new layer to what most conventional mentorship programmes offer.
The aim of this is to develop the self-awareness and wellbeing of grass-roots entrepreneurs along with business skills, says Finnis-Bedford.
“As experienced and successful business owners it makes sense that we pass our knowledge and skills onto others and support and mentor them along the way. We are determined to see these entrepreneurs succeed and therefore in addition to the three-day workshop we hosted recently we also offer a nine-month mentorship programme. Workshops alone offer great tools and insights but entrepreneurs must be held accountable for the goals they set.”
Finnis-Bedford says this is often where entrepreneurs can lose their way. “Running your own business is overwhelming as you are the only one steering the ship, and trying to keep it afloat. We believe in giving back, and entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs.”
As a result of the value they gained from last year’s programme, two entrepreneurs have again signed up with the hopes to further increase their revenue to qualify for entry into EO’s accelerator programme.
“There are many reasons for why I signed up again this year,” says Unotida Nvoni, founder of Grand Scale Consultancy.
“Besides the incredible platform it offers in terms of networking and having mentors and experts to bounce my ideas off, I want to see the story of my business improve. By the end of last year’s programme, my monthly revenue grew by 36%.”
Prior to joining Bootcamp to Boardroom, Nvoni didn’t believe that this type of growth was even possible.
“Through the mentorship training I found the confidence to charge more for my services, work on ways to improve my marketing approach and grow as a leader. I also found great value in writing my business plan as it gave me direction and focus. Along with my mentor, it also held me accountable for taking the next steps in my business.”
In addition to Nvoni the latest Bootcamp to Boardroom cohort includes: Ashia Nkontsa, Marlon Alexander, Lethabo Mokoena, Margaret Yablabi, Maropeng Vushangwe, Mphindeleli Qalazive, Maxwell Miselo, Nathan Simons, Prudence Lunga, Patricia Khumalo, Portia May, Rose Elcock, Sam Gqomo, Shane Williams, Sibusiso Khumalo, Sivise Magqazolo, Wiso Mdlalo, Claire Allen, Zanele Zithumane, and Zanele Shwane.
The Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO) is a NPO that offers peer-to-peer networking opportunities for entrepreneurs across South Africa and the globe. There are currently 198 chapters in 61 countries worldwide.