The eKasi Entrepreneurship Movement is a Non-Profit Company that develops township entrepreneurs through training and development, access to resources, information, finance and business tools and other integrated programmes that they run.
The organisations role is to act as a catalyst to assist township entrepreneurs and SMMEs by propelling them into the mainstream economy. The greater intent is to connect township entrepreneurs with the private sector to open up Township small business owners to new markets as well as avenues of funding.
By creating a township-focused entrepreneurship ecosystem the entity seeks to drive inclusion and optimize the success of township entrepreneurs.
Ekasi Entrepreneurs holds various strategic partnerships with corporate to help realise its vision. Its academic partner is the Wits Business School Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) in response to the need to develop an emerging entrepreneurial economy in South Africa. Transformation is at the heart of what the CfE does, and it plays a strong advocacy role in driving the township economy, working closely with young entrepreneurs and partnering with practitioners and other stakeholders to add value to communities in building an entrepreneurial knowledge base.
Founders@Work aswell as Kasibiz Mahala is the PR and brand communication vehicle for Ekasi Entrepreneurs aiding in the sharing of work done by the organisation and the sharing of stories by Township Entrepreneurs.
Bowmans Law is the legal support partner helping associated entrepreneurs gain better understanding of legal issues pertaining to their business.
Entbanc is a technology partner that provides entrepreneurs access to The mysmetools platform. An online business planner that helps start-up and existing entrepreneurs to create their own business through a step-by-step process and also includes samples and templates, business planning resources and how-to articles.
Elvis Sekhaolelo was earlier this year named as one of the Most Influential Young South Africans by Avance Media. He is a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum.
What vision do you have for your business?
I operate two businesses. Founders@work is a digital marketing agency that aims to propel entrepreneurs into the digital world. We also partner with entrepreneurship institutions to provide support to township and black entrepreneurs on a regular basis.
EKasi Entrepreneurs is all about training and developing township entrepreneurs so that they are able to run their businesses efficiently. It is about equipping township entrepreneurs with the right tools to compete.
Do you believe entrepreneurship can be taught?
I believe it is possible to learn how to be a better businessperson. Business is about grit and discipline. One has to firmly understand their industry but more importantly understand business operation, from client relationships, to marketing and financial management. I believe that anyone with the intellectual capacity to learn can be taught how to be an entrepreneur.
What makes a successful entrepreneur?
Discipline, dedication, passion, focus are vital components to doing well in business. Equally as important is the ability to have fun whilst working. You need to love what you do, that will keep you motivated during darker times. Sacrifice is also a major part of business. Change is the only constant to remain relevant in your business.
How do we best support and capacitate Township entrepreneurs?
To my broad understanding and through the research that we have done, it is not all about money. What township entrepreneurs need most is mentorship, it is training and development and it is guidance. Township entrepreneurs require adequate support with regards to infrastructure and operational space. Structural access to markets is a fundamental for growth.
TEXT: KASIBIZ MAHALA STAFF