Accountants’ enterprise development initiative poised for greater financial sust

www.MyPE.co.za: In an
international partnership of significant import, a team of MBA students
from the Duke University in the United Stated recently visited The Hope
Factory, a Port Elizabeth-based enterprise development initiative
powered by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

The aim of the visit was to help the local operation to achieve greater
financial stability.

After gaining valuable information on enterprise development in South
Africa, Matt Nash, Duke’s Centre for the Advancement of Social
Entrepreneurship (CASE) managing director, who led the programme, will
be returning in March 2010.

“This was an outstanding chance for our students to learn about
enterprise development in South Africa,” says Nash. We were fortunate
to have The Hope Factory as a partner in our Global Consulting
Practicum. We look forward to returning to South Africa with students
in March of 2010 to work with other social entrepreneurs and NGOs. We
anticipate that this was just the beginning of our work in Southern
Africa.”

Elizabeth Zambonini, project director for enterprise development at
SAICA, says The Hope Factory and the team from Duke University’s Fuqua
School of Business had been working together since late last year
following an approach by CASE, which was researching a list of
enterprise development initiatives for inclusion in the Duke MBA Global
Consulting Practicum.

A four-phased approach was implemented to reach the programme’s
objectives: Planning; Analysis; A field visit and Final
development/recommendations.

The project’s objectives were to:

  • Analyse current donor information, fundraising campaigns
    and incentive structures to identify opportunities for increased
    funding and/or expansion of the donor base;
  • Assess the current distribution channels and market
    penetration, identifying opportunities for new channels and markets;
  • Identify and evaluate product and training offerings to
    best meet consumer needs; and
  • Recommend improvements and/or changes to current
    fundraising campaigns, donor incentives, product offering and
    distribution channels.

The six-person Duke MBA team spent two days in Port Elizabeth and eight
days in Johannesburg and successfully accomplished all their objectives.

“While they were here, the group spent most of their time with the
trainees, gaining hands-on experience. By doing this and interacting
with our staff, they determined the achievability of stated
objectives,” says Maurita Odendaal, The Hope Factory Centre Manager.

Zambonini adds: “The Duke team completed the final development phase,
which fully defines the determined strategies and the overarching
social impact goals. These include a proposed business model for
generating sustainable revenue streams, and developing the roadmap for
testing and launching such initiatives.”

She says that during this phase, the team also clarified the goals of
the selected strategies, engaged in market research and planning,
identified the required costs of implementation and operation, and
estimated the financial and social impact of the recommendations.

“The opportunity to travel to the Hope Factory’s headquarters and to
visit the operations was invaluable, “commented Mark Braby, Group
Leader of the team “, I listened to stories of transformation among
those served, witnessed the dedication to their mission and the
struggles to choose strategic paths for greater impact. The
organisation became a part of each of us, and we became a part of their
history as well.”

The SAICA-managed Hope
Factory
aims to develop, empower and inspire
previously disadvantaged South Africans to become self-reliant and
productive.

It acts as an employment-training programme that teaches small business
skills primarily to women between the ages of 20 to 40 and fosters
their application of these skills to become financially productive
individuals.

The technical skills they learn on the 15-week training programme
include sewing, pattern making, beadwork and other crafts.

Over 672 unemployed people have directly benefited from The Hope
Factory’s job and wealth creation efforts. The concept has proven
extremely succesful, surpassing Department of Labour employment
placement standards, with 81% of all graduates still financially
productive. A customer base of more than 500 businesses accounts for
revenues of some R1,5 million a year.

Source: PERCCI.

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