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THE MOSES KOTANE INSTITUTE (MKI) hosted the virtual Enterprise Incubation Programme 2020/2021 launch on YouTube on Friday, 21 August 2020. Facilitating the launch was Advocate Thembelihle Mapipa, the Executive for Corporate Services at MKI.

In her welcoming address CEO of MKI, Thandeka Ellinson said the Enterprise Incubation is a new programme under MKI. She added that the development of COVID-19 has pushed the global community to innovate and do things differently.

Ellinson congratulated the team at MKI for the launch of this digital platform which provides access to entrepreneurs who will not normally have access to the Incubation programme for various reasons.

“More and more people are encouraged to participate in such programmes because it can be beneficial if designed effectively. An online programme has got many amazing benefits. It allows entrepreneurs the flexibility to work around their busy schedules.

It allows an opportunity for them to pursue their dreams whilst they are on the programme. Secondly, it allows the resources that we use under the Incubation programme are not limited to the local surroundings. We eliminate the hustle of fitting in the Incubation programme into the busy schedule, we eliminate the transport cost and provide convenience to those participating in the programme,” said Ellinson.

She further stated that there is an opportunity for more interaction between incubates and mentors using this digital platform. This platform can be assessed anywhere from the comfort of one’s home, at work or whilst in transit to other activities, which is one of the things that impressed Ellinson about the programme.

Focusing on the launch, Ellinson said it will structure and develop and refine entrepreneurial business with a mentor that guides entrepreneurs step by step.

The main speaker was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: People and Operations at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Dr Isaac Machi, who is also a board member at MKI.

Dr Machi was introduced as a person who is passionate about the development of young people and new businesses.

“Small Medium and Micro Enterprises usually referred to as SMMEs are vital to the prosperity of the country’s economy. According to South Africa’s Treasury in terms of contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an estimate of 52% to 57% has been quoted by the Trade and Industry Ministry putting the numbers of SMMEs in South Africa to 2,8 million and their contribution to employment at 60%. Looking ahead, the National Development Plan project that by 2030 no less than 90% of the new jobs will be created in small and expanding firms,” said Dr Machi.

KwaZulu-Natal being the second largest provincial economy in the country after Gauteng, contributing 16,5% to the country’s GDP, Dr Machi said it has the potential of being a hub for SMMEs economic activities.

He said everyone needs to apply their minds and think whether the existing higher education sector is speaking to these challenges. Dr Machi felt there is a need to relook the curriculum across the higher education sector so that it promotes the establishment of SMMEs.

“Our education system currently is heavily biased, in favour of those people seeking employment. I think challenges of the country may not only be addressed through job seekers but it will only be addressed through people who are actually creating their own businesses. The investment on capacitating South Africans to establish their own business is very much critical. Despite a noble aspiration of economic growth and job creation, major constrains persist. These include legal, regulatory framework, access to information and advice, access to marketing and procurement,” said Dr Machi.

The key objectives of this strategy were summarised by Dr Machi are as follows:

  • Raise awareness about priority sector, business opportunities.
  • Facilitate equitable access and participation in terms of race, gender, disability, age and geographical location.
  • Creating sustainable long term jobs through accelerator programmes.

Dr Machi said there are seven enterprises in the current cohorts represented by 14 entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will be taking this mentorship programme to conduct current business plan evaluation, product market strategy and devices to implement growth and significantly scale their operations.

MKI has a good partnership with DUT and also have students from the university that they fund through their bursary programmes, facilitated by Dr Machi.

Pictured: Deputy Vice-Chancellor: People and Operations at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Dr Isaac Machi, presenting at the launch.

Simangele Zuma

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