The RLabs Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme launched on Friday 21st of June 2019 have been granted access by a R3.22m partnership with Nedbank.
The programme will provide advisory services, support, resources, incubation and mentorship for 50 women and youth-led entrepreneurs from the peri-urban, township and other marginalized communities across Cape Town. The founder of the RLabs non-profit organization, Marlon Parker, said that the programme would equip entrepreneurs and talented individuals with the capacity building, business acumen, and resources needed for sustainable growth. Parker also said that by providing five essential pillars, an enabling environment equipping participants with the necessary skills to succeed and providing social capital, investment, and support services. The programme will empower the entrepreneurs with the building blocks to grow their businesses during the one year. Stressing that only 50 entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to participate in the first programme and all were selected based on specific criteria: the businesses will be operational enough, and it has been located in the Western Cape area, having just ten employees and an annual turnout of not less than R4 million. Essentially, it is mandatory that business owners are active participants in the programme.
There is no doubt about the significant role that micro, small, and medium enterprises play in building and growing a country’s economy. Apart from other considerations, the sector creates vital jobs to the extent that it’s expected to account for 90 percent of new jobs in South Africa by 2030, according to the National Development Plan. South Africa are seeing fewer businesses being born now than 30 years ago. The amazing part is that business failure rates are in a long-term decline, with the rate at which companies fail having fallen by 30 percent since 1977.
Earlier in her remarks, the Nedbank Business Banking’s senior manager for enterprise development Nirmala Reddy said that the Nedbank aims are not only to be good with money but more importantly, to do good with it as well. This mindset dictates that the company remain an organization that recognizes economic upliftment, business development, job creation, community empowerment, and social transformation as crucial drivers of South Africa’s sustainable future,
“We at Nedbank believe this fact due to the superb business incubators available today. Entrepreneurs surveyed for the annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor believe the aspects of entrepreneurship education that are vital in preparing them to succeed in their own business are basic business skills, leadership and management skills, and entrepreneurship in practice skills, all of which are provided by the excellent programme being launched here today,” said Reddy.