Run by S A Home Loans, the event was held at their La Lucia head office.
Guest speaker Ntshona was addressing 40 entrepreneurs in the first 2018 Masterclass of the Programme attended by a mix of new entrants and some who had joined the programme in previous years.
“While we, through the Sekela Programme, provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs to fulfill their business ambitions, success stories such as those of Ntshona have a huge motivating impact on those that have begun this challenging journey to sustained business success” says Zakheni Dlamini, Director of Business Development at SA Home Loans
Ntshona related her experience of struggle and success, making it clear that being passionate, tenacious and determined is the backbone to fulfilling any ambition. She proudly related that her motivation was her father who had spent most of his life employed at a materials supply company, but never lost sight of his dream to own his own construction business. While renovating houses over weekends, he finally made his dream a reality at 50 years of age. This ignited the spirit of entrepreneurial determination in Nsthona – who against all odds, broke into the male dominated world of Quantity Surveying – initially working from a wendy house in her backyard and often struggling to pay wages. Refusing to quit paid off and today, at 41 years of age, she runs a national firm headquartered in Johannesburg with a list of blue chip clients.
The SA Home Loans Sekela Development Programme is an initiative, now in its third year, that provides support to entrepreneurial efforts. It is facilitated by experienced business development practitioners and is aimed at providing sustainable business support to start-up owner-involved businesses that have been in operation for no longer than three years and that have shown potential for accelerated growth.
“Sekela is the Zulu word for support” adds Dlamini “and we are committed to supporting and nurturing aspiring entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals in a sustainable way. The programme aims to be a perfect balance of theory and hands-on mentorship”
He says 18 entrepreneurs were selected for the 2018 programme after going through an intense selection process requiring shortlisted businesses to attend a workshop sponsored by SA Home Loans and then deliver presentations to a selection panel. While passion, determination and tenacity of entrepreneurs play a huge role, the programme gives participants some key skills in administration, compliance, finance, sales and marketing. With the ongoing support of mentors, the aim is to improve turnover and profitability and to create more employment opportunities.
Dlamini remarks that he has been blown away by the growth of the Sekela entrepreneurs – who range from bakers, to builders, to IT specialists and manufacturers – and that the three-year impact of Sekela has been profound.
“Our main aim is to create a platform for entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses that become active participants in the economy. Together with the assistance of our partners Business Fit, Raizcorp and Innate Solutions, we know that while we have positively impacted the lives of over 50 entrepreneurs directly, we are equally excited that the multiplier effect on employees, their families and customers is changing lives for the better” concludes Dlamini.