This week saw the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) formally launch the GIBS Enterprise Development Academy (GIBS EDA) at an event held at the business school’s campus in Illovo, Johannesburg.
In her keynote address, the Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu explained that South Africa needs an entrepreneurial revolution in order to spark a shift in direction towards entrepreneurship and SMEs that will take the country forward. Highlighting the critical role that government, big business and academic institutions need to play when it comes to supporting job creation through enterprise development, Zulu said that “entrepreneurs need support in order to grow and develop their enterprises in an environment that nurtures the development of these enterprises and enhances their job creation potential”.
Addressing the common problems facing SMMEs, such as a lack of access to information and finance, low skills levels, the lack of a favourable legal and regulatory environment and a shortage of effective supportive intuitions, Zulu added “If we are to make an impact on the job creation front, the common problems faced by SMEs must be addressed”.
Zulu highlighted the importance of partnerships and initiatives such as the GIBS EDA and others in creating a conducive environment for people who are hungry for ways to make their businesses thrive.
As a leading business school in South Africa, GIBS is committed to building the business and leadership skills of entrepreneurs by helping them to develop sustainable, efficient and profitable enterprises that are able to employ more people. To focus this support, the GIBS EDA was created as a centre of excellence for the growth of new and existing SME businesses.
Speaking at the academy’s launch, Yogavelli Nambiar, director of the GIBS EDA, said, “The National Development Plan refers to 90% of new jobs by 2030 having to come from small and growing firms. If we are to achieve the goal of having the SME sector produce the largest quantity of jobs, these enterprises need to be supported to be sustainable, to grow and to thrive.
“In order to flourish, business creation needs an enabling environment where entrepreneurs have access to funding, best-practice tools and skills development. The academy aims to provide practical and relevant business education and leadership training to entrepreneurs, followed by a comprehensive structure of support services, ensuring that the academic learning is applied to the business environment and impact is achieved.”
To ensure that this education model is accessible to those who would not ordinarily be able to afford it, the Academy will work primarily on a scholarship-based programme offering education to all participants through the generous contribution of public and private sector partners committed to enterprise development.Some of the GIBS EDA partners include Massmart, Transnet, GlaxoSmithKline, SAB and the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC).