Vendors graduate from UWC’s Supplier Development Programme
Over four weeks in June 2014, 19 vendors of the University of the Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology picked up an array of new business skills – especially e-skills – by taking part in the first Supplier Development Programme run by UWC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). Their hard work was rewarded with a small graduation ceremony on 2 August 2014 – with celebratory cake, naturally.
The Programme was offered in partnership with the University’s Centre for Innovative Educational Communications Technology (CIECT) and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development & Tourism (DEDAT). It aims to create structures that will contribute to the retention of jobs by providing business support and business incubation functions that are particularly important for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) who often face stringent procurement requirements that make it hard to compete effectively with more well-established businesses.
The vendors received instruction in a range of subjects, from banking to economics to approaching clients, and were also given the chance to develop practical skills such as basic computer literacy, setting up a Word document and a PowerPoint presentation, submitting an online tender, generating an income statement and – the cherry on the cake for many – website creation. Every element was appreciated.
“What we were offered in class we truly needed,” said Peregrine van Heerden, owner of DaKaapo Metal Works.
“This course has helped me to be confident,” added Roderick Wakefield of Kaylin Landscaping.
“They’ve added value to our lives and businesses,” noted Michael Bell, who runs BellTech Electric.
“This is going to be the start,” promised Dudley Kearns, owner of Chef’s Connection (which donated the celebratory cake), who swore to sign up for many more courses.
The CEI aims to grow and promote entrepreneurship education, innovation and small business development. The Supplier Development Programme itself, which will be presented four times in 2015, is designed to fill a critical gap in the skill sets of many entrepreneurs, explains Charleen Duncan, Project Manager at the CEI. The main aim of the programme is to help smaller businesses keep abreast of the skills required to win and keep tenders.
“One of the things that I said when I got to UWC was that we need to look at how we put technology and entrepreneurs together,” says Duncan. “Listening to the success stories today, I am happy that we have achieved this.”