Building capacity in the SMME sector

Business Skills for South Africa

Refugees learn how to start a business

Sixty-nine urban refugees were recently equipped with basic business skills after the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) contracted BSSA to train these would-be entrepreneurs from several African countries in how to start and manage their own businesses.

The JRS is an international Catholic organisation which aims to assist refugees and other forcibly displaced people in 50 countries worldwide. The organisation helps refugees in both camps and cities in the fields of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services.

The BSSA training workshops were held over four days in November in both Johannesburg and Pretoria. A total of 42 learners were trained in Johannesburg, and 27 in Pretoria. They were divided into three categories: those who already had existing businesses, those who had started taking steps towards establishing their own businesses, and those who wanted to start a business but had not yet taken steps to do so.

The training covered business start-up skills, cash book and sales journal know-how, practical marketing, customer care, practical pricing and costing, and profit and cash flow forecast. Learners also had to complete a practical assignment on the businesses they intended to start, based on research they had conducted before the training.

BSSA was also tasked with selecting 17 learners from each of the two groups eligible to receive grants from the JRS. The grants will assist these young entrepreneurs in kick-starting their business ideas.

Comments from the participants after the training included: “this programme was excellent”, “before the course I had no idea how to start a business, but I gained a lot of knowledge and can now manage any business”, and “the course opened my mind on how to run a business professionally and profitably”.

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