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UWC offers 1000 entrepreneurs chance to upskill

UWC’s Province-Wide Strategy Course for 1000 Entrepreneurs

“In order for South Africa to progress, it is imperative that institutions – private sector, government and academia – work in collaboration to equip our people with the necessary skills, training and support to foster a culture of success and growth.”

Those were the words of University of the Western Cape (UWC) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tyrone Pretorius, speaking at the official launch of the Emerging Business Support Programme, a partnership between UWC, the Western Cape and ABSA that aims to equip 1000 entrepreneurs with the business skills needed to develop and grow their businesses.

UWC officially launched the programme on Friday, 28 August 2015, to start in September 2015. Provision has been made to train businesses from all five districts’ municipalities and the Cape Metropole. The training will take place across the province.

The course will aid in the development of the following key areas:

  • Business strategy development
  • Marketing and sales strategy development
  • Operations strategy development

“As an academic institution with deep-rooted community ties, UWC feels privileged to be a part of this journey that will empower budding entrepreneurs in the Western Cape,” said Pretorius. “The importance of this initiative cannot be overstated, as the success of SMMEs has the potential to make a substantial impact on economic growth and job creation in our communities.”

South Africa has one of the lowest start-up survival rates, with only 3% of start-ups surviving beyond the first three years - and one of the contributing factors is low business skills of business owners.

Doug Walker, Managing Executive, Absa Cape Region, said that Absa was proud to be part of the initiative:  “As a bank we recognise the vital role SMEs play in economic growth and job creation.”

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, noted that the Western Cape was already bucking the national trend (according to the latest Ventureburn Start-up Survey, two-thirds of SA’s start-ups are based in the Western Cape), adding that the skills strategy sessions complemented the Western Cape Government’s suite of business support services.

“In this province, our number one goal is the creation of opportunities for economic growth and jobs. We know that small businesses are important job creators and we need to create the right environment for them to thrive,” said Winde. “The Emerging Business Support Programme will take skills development to entrepreneurs, and I want to encourage small businesses to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Entrepreneurs: Get Involved!

The University and their partners urge entrepreneurs to participate in the intense two-day business strategy course, which is run by UWC facilitators through the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, supported by Absa. The Centre has already held monthly workshops on putting together tender documents, tax matters and educating entrepreneurs about the new BBBEE policies.

“The Centre was created to build more businesses in the Bellville area and get a mind-set of entrepreneurship at our university and the wider community,” said Duncan.

To participate in the programme, businesses:

  • Should be registered and operational;
  • Should be operating within the Western Cape;
  • Should have a valid tax clearance certificate or be in the process of registering for tax.

Once selected, business owners are expected to attend both days of the course.

Business owners are required to fill in an application form here.

For more information, contact Wendy Mehl on 021 959 9549 or via email at,  or Odette Daries on 021 483 9114.