Working with entrepreneurs and their businesses, TechnoServe develops entrepreneurs to the best of their ability so as to build the most sustainable businesses, and to ensure that they become competitive within the market. To identify self motivated entrepreneurs, TechnoServe offers a Business Plan Competition (BPC) programme and Acceleration/ Incubation programmes for businesses. TechnoServe realises the potential for Enterprise Development (ED) to contribute towards job creation and the sustainability of small and medium-sized businesses. The business Plan Competition initiative works hand in hand with our Accelerator and Incubation Programmes, with BPC being regarded as an entry level that feeds directly to the latter programmes.

The TechnoServe business Plan Competition and After Care Methodology that’s takes successful entrepreneurs through a process of ongoing learning and mentorship, has shown to have positive across other programmes in  Latin America, West and East Africa. Entrepreneurs who form part of the programme leave with  a rich understanding of key components of their businesses and what best ways to drive their businesses, with linkages to a number of networks they are able to navigate themselves through the competitive nature of  the business world. The Business Plan Competition helps TechnoServe identify the best entrepreneurs who show much potential for future success.   Who then form part of the aftercare programmes and receive ongoing support, with experienced mentors who will ensure that the business delivers on the aspirations of the business plans.     

AUWESAM (Accelerating Urban Women & Youth Entrepreneurship in South African Metros (Programme)

According to the GEM (Global entrepreneurship Monitor) report, the entrepreneurial activity for men is 7.1 compared to 4.9 for women. SEDA identifies the possibility for the difference in this rate being that there is greater Risk for women who have to operate in a previously male dominated arena, yet can also be the result of the lack of education and training, in their specific fields. Both men and women face many challenges when starting up a business, it is unfortunate that women are faced with further challenges of accessing finance, endure existing socio- cultural attitudes towards women and work and gender discrimination. Women entrepreneurs face more hardships in their endeavours to see their businesses succeed then men.  The AUWESAM programme is therefore a targeted entrepreneurship development programme aimed at South Africa's urban metropolitan 

dwelling women and youth. The programme seeks to respond to a real and present challenge of the South African economy not creating enough jobs, inefficient use of Enterprise Development Funds, and poor support systems particularly for aspirant female and youth entrepreneurs in Urban Areas (Metros) in South Africa.

The latest Stats SA labour force survey (Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Q1 2013) indicates that unemployment is at 25, 2%. With low economic growth rates of around 2, 5%, there is a definite need for a new impetus in the creation of new job opportunities, from new entrepreneurs. The mechanisms for creating an environment for new businesses

development remains a challenge. Recent studies by TechnoServe South Africa reveal that the vast majority of SMEs are of a subsistence nature, lacking the ability or desire to grow beyond the needs of the single entrepreneur. The AUWESAM programme aims to address the issue faced by young women entrepreneurs who lack the funds and knowledge to further enhances their businesses. Women with metropolitan areas of South Africa will be reached out to seek the opportunity afforded to them, with the funding received from Citi Bank. With the aim to produce sustainable entities run by young entrepreneurs, who will in large create employment opportunities for South African citizens. 

Accessing Finance

Citibank Incubation Programme

(Incubating emerging businesses for future success)

TechnoServe Incubator Programme is a 12 month targeted business incubator initiative that provides one-on-one support, mentoring and acceleration to 3 small businesses from poor areas that contributes towards economic development and job creation in South Africa. The Businesses currently under the programme were winners of the Believe begin Become Business plan completion. They were chosen on the basis that they held potential to grow, and show the ability to generate income.

Through one-on-one mentoring, the goal is to support and enable these businesses to grow so that they can contribute towards economic development in their immediate communities and the country. TechnoServe is currently assisting these businesses to access markets which they would not have otherwise managed to access in their normal day-to-day operations.  

Incubation is about providing support and continued mentorship to businesses that are in their beginning stages but have potential for growth.  Incubation helps in that when a business is in their early stages it is vulnerable and chances of failure are high. For any business to survive this stage and be able to grow into a sustainable enterprise it requires robust strategies and plans, networks, access to finance and markets in order to successfully grow and develop into the next phase. The TechnoServe incubation programme is currently providing these interventions and support to ensure they reach the next stage of growth. 

As the size and number of farming programmes receiving assistance from TechnoServe, continues to increase dramatically, it has become an almost impossible task to successfully track information from all of these entities and even more difficult for funders to extract useful management data using non-standardised and incomplete information. There was a necessity to have in place a system that would easily allow management to track all farmers within the programmes and to ensure all information pertaining to them is kept on record on one platform and is easily accessible. TechnoServe has overcome this challenge of ensuring all data is captured and easily accessible, by building an application that allows for on the field Junior business advisors to capture information on their regular site visits, that include details, of the farmer, the farm, crops and revenue and labour data which is all important when it comes to reporting accurate information to our partners and donors.

The system allows for customized forms and reports to be pulled, which allows for efficient tracking of jobs, revenue and labourers for each farmer on the system. This allows for information pertaining to a farmer’s entity to be accessible on one platform and makes it easier for management to ensure that farmer’ details and information is correct. With the help of Dimagi, the CommCare application has allowed TechnoServe South Africa to step to the next level of programme tracking in all our agricultural programmes.

 

Innovative Systems and Models

Monitoring and Evaluation

Small scale farmers in South Africa are faced with many adverse challenges of ensuring that a large percentage of their produce, reaches the market, as that is the only way to ensure a profitable farming entity. Packhouses can be considered to be the middle point between farmers and the market.

TechnoServe’s extensive experience in the fresh produce industry has enabled them to create a workable model to successfully address these challenges, an E-Fresh model in order to overcome the many challenges faced by farmers and to also move forward in addressing the food security issue.The E-Fresh model allows has secured markets for local farmers, currently with two E-Fresh markets in operation in Tonga (Limpopo and Elukwatini (Mpumalanga) that have a collective turnover of over R15 million annually and are showing profits.  The core aim of E-Fresh is to get a leveled process of selling to local traders, taking responsibility of product distribution for local producers and packaging the produce for retailers and national distribution entities.

TechnoServe’s model is based on consolidated marketing for both traditional and emerging commercial farmers.  This entails creating a central point where retailers can purchase from BEE farmers and local traders be assured that they will obtain fresh produce at fair prices. TechnoServe aims to roll out the E-fresh model to all the regions in which they currently work in, round the country. This will result in creation of employment and assurance, of fresh produce for the market. With the above being said it must not be forgotten the complex nature of pack houses which are highly determined by the production of crops, during high and low seasons. Yet with good management packhouses can be well sustained and maintained and afford a flow of the agricultural value chain. 

TechnoServe and Citi Bank have Partnered to provide an in depth study of the Poultry Industry in South Africa with the aim of clarifying and identifying key points along the poultry value chain for small holder participation. Over 8 Black owned poultry businesses will be selected in order to be incubated for a period of 9 months for the programme. This will allow for precise documentation to be collected and captured on the programme, to identify key lessons learned and how the different businesses models perform and also provide business development services.

TechnoServe will then package the lessons learnt and manage successful business models. This undergoing will assist with identification of the best models to utilise within the Poultry industry, and how best to catalyse them. These will be shared with the wider poultry industry as scalable models for including small scale farmers in the main stream poultry industry. The process should result in clear models for small scale poultry breeders, incubators, growers, abattoirs and distributors along the value chain.

Standard Bank of South Africa went into Partnership with TechnoServe, to help The Tutuwa beneficiaries, have access to business advisors that will provide them with necessary business skills and to ensure that they build sustainable businesses. The beneficiaries/ Entrepreneurs were provided with Business Development services (BDS) that is aligned with Standard Bank mandate.

Working with over 253 businesses in this initiative, has allowed for a model to be conceptualised, that can help improve future methods to assist entrepreneurs reach they full business potential, make profit and simultaneously create employment for citizens of the country. The programme which is coming to a close towards the end of the 2013 year, has seen many of the businesses, raise they profit and show high sustainability for the future. Mentoring is almost 95% complete and business are hoped to stay strong beyond the programme.  

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