Course helps upskill entrepreneurs

Ebrahim Rhode, from Tafelsig, fixes sewing machines, does basic logo design and digitalising.

What does a beauty therapist, pest control worker, photographer and sewing machine repairer all have in common?

They are Mitchell’s Plain entrepreneurs completing a free business course to improve and provide quality services to their neighbours and community.

Beacon Valley beauty therapist and waxing specialist Tercia Goliath; Eastridge photographer Janine Stompies; Tafelsig sewing machine repairman Ebrahim Rhode; and New Woodlands pest control worker Adam Ally, are students of the free Gordon Institute of Business Science’s (GIBS)/ Walmart Foundation GrowYourBiz programme.

They read about the free scholarships available for 60 students, to grow their personal and business confidence, in the Plainsman and attend class at Portland indoor sports centre every Monday and Tuesday.

Ms Stompies, owner of Kaidis Photography, said she applied to be the photographer at the launch of the programme but enrolled as a student instead.

“I thought I could be learning while I’m there.

“To be honest I don’t like the business side of running my own business,” she said.

Ms Stompies said while she just wanted to be creative and take photographs, the course had made her more focused and determined to make a living of her talent.

“It gave me more structure. It has taught me to do things differently. I have a vision to get to my goals and plans to get there,” she said.

Mr Rhode, owner of Ebrahim and Raigaanah (ER) Sewing, works from home but also goes to people’s homes to fix sewing machines.

“When I started, I went in with my dream but with the course I’ve learned to change that into a reality with a vision and goals that I want to achieve in a specific time period,” he said.

Mr Ally, who has been in the pest control and hygiene industry for almost 20 years, said his business had failed. He owns NviroGreen Solutions, a green pest control company.

“There were some dark days but this course has put me on a path, a lot more brighter and lighter,” he said, adding: “I’ve learned to take a step back, work on my business and trust people to do things for me.”

Mr Ally said he was good at what he did and sometimes found it difficult to delegate, which put him under a lot of strain.

He now involves his wife, daughter and anyone who has an interest in growing the business.

Mr Ally added that he had learned that other stakeholders in his business, like his neighbours, family and friends, could also contribute to the lack of growth in his business.

He cited examples like a neighbour who may object to a rezoning application or who picks a fight about parking.

“You have to get all of these people on board, to help support your business,” he said, adding that, once won over, they could help promote the business by talking about it.

Ms Goliath, owner of Divine Radiance, wants to provide a service in Mitchell’s Plain, which residents go far for.

“I’ve learned how to speak to clients, that it is important that anyone in my employ knows how to speak to clients; and what topics to address,” she said.

Workshop participants also completed modules on sourcing and compartmenting clients.

Ms Goliath said a valued part of the course is the personal development and mentorship received by entrepreneurs, who have failed and rebuilt their businesses.

“They teach us that it is okay to fail because we learn from our mistakes and can only improve,” she said.

The students will hand in their final assignments on Wednesday December 11.