If hopeful entrepreneurs are to reach their full potential and achieve their business dreams, they need to receive adequate guidance, nurturing and of course, opportunities. South Africa is no stranger to producing top-quality business men and women, and with the number of entrepreneurs entering the scene increasing year after year, the economy is receiving a much-needed boost.
If hopeful entrepreneurs are to reach their full potential and achieve their business dreams, they need to receive adequate guidance, nurturing and of course, opportunities. South Africa is no stranger to producing top-quality business men and women, and with the number of entrepreneurs entering the scene increasing year after year, the economy is receiving a much-needed boost. Aspiring entrepreneurs need all the help they can get and this is something that Sir Richard Branson and his team recognise. The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is an organisation that is changing the lives of entrepreneurs across the country – find out how.
An initiative of Virgin Unite (a non-profit organisation founded within the Virgin Group), the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship was founded in 2005 in the heart of South Africa’s business hub, Johannesburg. From the beginning, the organisation has been committed to providing would-be entrepreneurs with small businesses the opportunities, skills and the inspiration they need to become truly successful in their industries. Business is often seen as a “force for good” and a means of stimulating the economy – it’s not so much about the money as it is about people trying to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones, contributing to society in a positive way, as well as cementing their positions as the future business leaders of our country.
What’s on offer?
The centre offers programmes that aim to help entrepreneurs scale and develop successful, sustainable businesses. Whilst it does not offer funding, it does provide elements that are equally as important. Access to the following is offered:
- Knowledge: The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship considers itself to be a knowledge hub, delivering training and mentorship, as well as developing minds through the wealth of information that is made available.
- Resources: Provides entrepreneurs with the necessary portals that will connect them to the finances and professional services they require to grow their businesses.
- Markets: Many entrepreneurs need a platform on which they can showcase what they have to offer and as a result, gain access to procurement opportunities. They need market exposure and the centre helps with this.
- Networks: Connecting with local and international business communities and industry networks is key in order for entrepreneurs to become successful, and the centre helps to provide the necessary channels that make this possible.
The Foundation Course introduces entrepreneurs to the basics. They are taught how to identify the right market, customer and product, plus they are provided with the tools that ensure effective strategising and planning. This is limited to 25 participants. The Advanced Course is offered to those who successfully completed the Foundation Course (limited to just 20 participants) and delves deeper into the inner-workings of running a small business, with particular focus on the idea of “value”. A six-month mentorship programme is then offered upon completion, during which entrepreneurs are paired with suitable mentors who continue to provide guidance and advice as they progress on their journeys. The best part: all training is free (although transport and accommodation costs are the responsibility of the participants).
Plans to expand
Currently, there is only the Gauteng centre but there are plans to expand to other parts of the country in the upcoming months. This will allow the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship to continue to spread its magic further afield and therefore change even more lives.
The centre is partly funded by Virgin Unite, with the remainder being covered by corporate business leaders and investors from across the globe. It’s always on the lookout for new mentors who are qualified and wish to offer their assistance to this valuable cause. There are also volunteer opportunities available if you are keen to get involved in another way.Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is an organisation that considers entrepreneurs to be the lifeblood of a booming economy and therefore believes (and prides itself on) in playing a vital role in developing their success. South African entrepreneurs are going places, but are sure to go even further with the help of initiatives such as this one.
Sage One also believes in offering budding entrepreneurs assistance on their journeys to success. Watch these informative videos and discover exactly how Sage One can make a difference in your business life.
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Featured image: http://ideate.co.za