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Top business school woos green entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurs and small business owners that have set up and are running green businesses are invited to take part in a scholarship programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science’s (GIBS) Entrepreneurship Development Academy.
The scholarship allows entrepreneurs providing solutions and services in the green economy to continue running their businesses while benefiting from a practical business management education. It is designed to develop these businesses into more profitable and sustainable enterprises that can contribute to greening the economy and to local economic development in South Africa.
Known as the Small Business Boost 2.0 programme, it runs from the end of November 2017 until September 2018.
Fazlyn Toeffie, senior manager for marketing and client engagement at GIBS, says: “Entrepreneurs that provide services and solutions focused on preserving both the environment and our precious resources and have been in operation for two years or more are invited to apply.
“Our green economy scholarship programme is open to entrepreneurs based in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu-Natal provinces. The only financial requirement for entrepreneurs is a commitment fee, which is refundable upon completion of the programme.”
A total of 100 scholarships are available and selection is taking place on a first-come-first-serve basis. No applications after 31 October 2017 will be considered and only South African citizens and permanent South African residents can participate.
Says Toeffie: “There are two consecutive days of classes followed by a three-week break between blocks wherein entrepreneurs will complete individual mentorship and coaching. These means that entrepreneurs can develop business acumen and build a set of critical business skills while expanding their enterprises.
“Our key requirements are that the green business must be beyond the startup phase and must have been in operation for at least two years, with at least three full-time people. The business owner that attends programme must work in the business full-time and have a minimum of 35% shareholding. Annual revenue can be anything from R200 000 to R2-million.”
Now in its second year, GIBS’ green economy entrepreneurship development programme promotes small business growth and job creation for entrepreneurs already providing green solutions to clients in both the public, private and NPO sectors.
Says Toeffie: “A total of 100 entrepreneurs have been through the programme after which they were able to manage change better, work more effectively with big business supply chains, secure finance more easily and manage people and projects more profitably. Most entrepreneurs exit the programme having identified strategic growth opportunities and armed with a clear strategy for their ongoing development.”
Toeffie explains that the green economy is where a lot of potential lies for SMEs, but because it is a capital-intensive sector, growing businesses can experience constraints. She says raising finance in this sector is also difficult.
“Our objective is to support entrepreneurs at their time of need,” he adds. “Our programme is not training for training’s sake. It is a targeted and goal-orientated programme that contributes to preserving our precious resources in South Africa and to building SMEs and creating jobs.”
For more information, please visit https://www.gibs.co.za/eda. Applications can be made at: www.gibs.co.za/about-us/pages/scholarships.aspx and queries can be directed to Fazlyn Toeffie at toeffief@gibs.co.za.
Shortlisted candidates who meet the selection criteria will be contacted for an interview before the announcement of the 100 scholarship recipients is made.