A ground-breaking initiative! Find out more about who we are…
The Informal Economy Support Programme (IESP), the first of it’s kind in South Africa, is a specialised support initiative.
The Pilot Phase of IESP was co-funded in 2013 by eThekwini and Jobs Fund, and has since become a leading informal and micro enterprise business incubator model, which identified over 290 micro and informal businesses in eThekwini. Project Preparation Trust (PPT) were the implementing agents for the IESP which developed a rigorous selection process that ensures that those who make it into the programme are indeed those with the highest potential to succeed. Once selected, the entrepreneurs are exposed to a support programme that continues to produce excellent results.
The IESP developed a not-for-profit business incubator model, which provides business support services which guide entrepreneurs to better manage and grow their enterprises. In the Pilot Phase PPT worked with entrepreneurs, governments and in the next phase aims to include corporates to support entrepreneurial development initiatives. Funding for the next phase of the IESP is currently being sought. Applications by enterprises for business support services will be considered only once such funding has been secured.
To find out more about PPT and its various Programmes, go to www.pptrust.co.za.
“It has been both and honour and a privilege being involved in this project. I believe I was able to add value to the enterprises that I worked with in helping them understand business better and also develop systems to enable them to the run their businesses properly. I was encouraged by the high level of entrepreneurship shown by a number of the enterprises and the potential to develop these enterprises and also to assist new entrepreneurs get started. There is, in my opinion, huge potential to develop businesses in the informal and small business sectors as one of the main areas holding them back is a lack of understanding anf knowledge of basic business systems. With continued and consistent support these enterprises have the potential for excellent growth.”
“I am currently coordinating survey on micro and informal enterprises within eThekwini municipal boundary. Our main interest is on understanding the challenges entrepreneurs face in their business and hopefully be able to assist them in the next phase of the programme. We also hope to add in literature, our findings as this is the first study done within eThekwini boundary-which covers all regions and not only focus on the central business district. Data collection and capturing is done by Andile and Londiwe Ngwenya, our fieldworker. We have managed to visit and interview over 300 business owners/managers to date. Our target is to interview over 700 business owner-managers, submit a comprehensive report and a database.”
“Working with the Informal Economy in the IESP has given me quite an exposure to coming with innovative ways in supporting the enterprises to optimise and to help them to keep the momentum even when there are so many threats to the businesses
- – To keep learning and trying to understand the nature of the informal economy;
- – Realising that most of the entrepreneurs are in a comfort zone and do not keep financial records, having simple employee records like – knowing their correct names and surnames; knowing their businesses’ financial position;
- – To play a literal role of a mentor and a coach in becoming a sounding board, encouraging, supporting and provoking their thinking towards growing their businesses;
- – Understanding that some entrepreneurs have a business acumen and others don’t and that guides me as to, from what level do I start working;
- – Job creation is a daunting task
- – Lack of working capital in most enterprises makes it difficult to remain sustainable and we are proud of some that our enterprises have managed to create and maintain their jobs”
“My main roles and learning were in impact evaluation, and communication/ stakeholder relations, marketing, they also include product updates, enterprise development. I am privileged to work in a space of economic development, one which I am quite excited about. It is for me a true privilege to work in a programme that encourages job creation and the development of both informal and small enterprises, who have real potential for growth. And lastly to be working in a programme that is closely tied to my educational and passions. It has really been a n honour to see these enterprises create jobs, grow and learn from this programme. Although often when speaking to some of them initially the first thing they may say is ‘I haven’t received much’. This is likely attributed to the nature of what business support services are, intangible, yet highly valuable contributions to enterprises. This something that came out quite strongly in the impact evaluation. Hopefully going forward the programme will continue to do this for the enterprises and thereby facilitate job creation, economic growth and improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.”
MEET THE TEAM
Our Team from left to right: Andile Shange (MIE Survey), Londiwe Ngwenya (Feildwork), Sne Mthimkhulu (Senior Intern), Tanya Dayaram (Project Officer), Mandla Sindane (PPT Mentor), Geoff Feldon (The Specialist) and Bukeka Guda (Enterprise development).