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Start-ups to create economic hub

Worcester can become a thriving economic hub, believes Jane Schafer, co-ordinator of a community skills incubator project that aims to give the youth, the unemployed, and start-up entrepreneurs a more positive vision for their futures.

Towards this goal the region’s most caring corporates are stepping forward to sponsor a variety of skills training workshops and mini courses to empower youth and adult start-up SME’s from communities across the Breede Valley – enabling entrepreneurs to realise their business dreams and in turn create employment and contribute to a spiralling economic development in the region.

“While Stellenbosch is undoubtedly the cultural centre of the Western Cape, Worcester has the potential to rise like the phoenix to become an important economic pulse point within a very short time . . . if the talents of its community are fostered and harvested to reach a broader and even national market,” Jane says confidently.

“In the face of the country’s current unemployment woes, smaller businesses, crafting projects, and product development need to be nurtured towards achieving economic success, and the role of the incubator is to liaise courses and workshops to upskill and empower aspiring innovators in the Breede Valley’s communities to promote and expands their markets.”

Self-employment can replace unemployment

“I firmly believe that out of unemployment and desperation comes the desire to change one’s life around, and through the support of our leading companies towards workshops and courses across the spectrum, unemployment can be skilled into self-employment to benefit the economy nationally.

“Crafters and designers will have the added opportunity to take us even beyond our borders through export – with the help of the CDI, and later WESGRO, who are on the agenda for conducting workshops, to enable Worcester to be empowered collectively and emerge triumphant in a shorter time than one could imagine!”

Sponsors help to bring about change

The incubator’s ultimate goal as a non-profit project is to be able offer a centre where new start-ups can initially hire an office desk until they can afford their own premises, and which will be equipped for computer-use by blind entrepreneurs, be wheelchair friendly, and can provide an interpreter to enable visiting trainers or motivational speakers to interact with deaf business entrepreneurs.

But until such time as premises have been identified, venues and classrooms for the project have been offered by both the public and private sector, to enable aspiring entrepreneurs to attend courses and workshops in 2019 through to 2020.


One such supporter is Dirkie van Zyl, CEO of a leading transport company and a director of the WBID (Worcester Business Improvement District), who stepped forward to offer the company’s Tswelopele Training Centre for the CDI’s craft and design workshops, while the Stellenbosch University has also offered a classroom at the Ukwanda Centre, their Worcester campus, at half-price for the benefit of community empowerment.

Business success through crafts

Through the range of workshops to be provided, small business across the board will have the chance to upskill, but October’s series of three 2-day workshops brings good news specifically for the empowerment of crafters, designers and innovators.

For six consecutive days at the Tswelopele Centre, one of the Western Cape’s leading carton production companies is sponsoring selected candidates for a series of business development workshops for creative entrepreneurs brought to Worcester by the Craft & Design Institute (CDI). These are Business Vision; Business Basics; and Best Game – Business Simulation (focusing on money management).

Now respected nationally and internationally for enabling successful crafters and designers to be recognised and receive awards in South Africa and Europe through the institute’s participation in key expos, the CDI workshops give all start-up entrepreneurs an equal opportunity to upskill their business and marketing understanding towards achieving similar success through their crafts.

Jacques Matthee, organisational development manager of the leading company sponsoring the craft and design workshops in Worcester, says: “As a private company we welcome the opportunity to help young entrepreneurs move forward with their dreams and goals and have always made a point of putting our clients and the community’s needs first.”

Support from the public and private sector

Valuable help towards making these and following workshops logistically possible for deserving candidates to attend has been given by the BVM’s community officers, the Department of Social Development, and SEDA.

Says workshops co-ordinator for the skills incubator project, Jane Schafer, “On behalf of all participants, our deepest thanks go to the sponsors for empowering our communities in a climate where providing new vision and hope through increased training opportunities is key to the nation’s economy and social transformation.”

For further information about the skills incubator project, contact comminfo@telkomsa.net.

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