Although we are aware of the proposed new changes to this pillar and hope that all the public comments will be taken into proper consideration by the DTI, we would like to argue that your efforts have not been unfounded or a waste of time.
The reality is, yes, certain aspects of BEE have not resulted in the desired outcome, but sometimes it is good to reflect on how far we have come. We all know how much easier it is to focus on the negative aspects and not the positive, and frankly we don't believe there is enough exposure of all the good impact and success stories that BEE has provided us. With our 12 years of experience in empowering South Africans to become financially sustainable, and with a primary focus on Enterprise Development, what we have seen is both positive and encouraging.
We believe that there have been significant inroads into Enterprise Development, particularly over the past five years thanks to Broad-Based BEE. Primarily with Enterprise Development funding from a number of medium to large sized organisations, we at The Hope Factory have been able to run excellent and impact-driven Entrepreneur Support Programmes which offer a range of support services underpinned by a strong mentorship offering. Our entrepreneurs often comment how lonely and isolated they feel, and so what a privilege it is for our full-time mentors to walk this journey with them, supporting, leading, and guiding them to success.
Are we making a difference? We strongly believe so. We cannot speak for the whole of the Enterprise Development space, but we can share with you a snapshot of the measured impact that we have had on the businesses on our programme:
- 48 new businesses were created and registered in 2012
- 148 entrepreneurs participated in our Entrepreneur Support Programme in 2012
- 86% of all these businesses now have a clear business strategy
- 92% of our businesses in our incubator programme, The Hope Hub, experienced a significant growth in turnover and 64% experienced a growth in profit
- 54% of general businesses on our Entrepreneur Support Programme also increased their turnover
- 95% of all the businesses on our programmes now implement accurate financial record keeping systems
- 95% of all the businesses now adhere to a budget.
This year our target is growing 197 businesses, and this once again, is all made possible through Enterprise Development funding, thanks to BEE. Imagine the impact of all our collective efforts in Enterprise Development!
South Africa may not yet be where it needs to be, but look how far we have progressed. In other words, let us not ever forget or discount all the effort and positive impact that BEE has had on the lives of many. Well done to all the participants' involvement. Let's not throw out all the good that BEE has done so far. We believe that Enterprise Development is a key aspect that is vital to growing and supporting black entrepreneurs.