Microbusinesses will play a key role in helping South Africa rebuild the economy and employ millions of South Africans in the aftermath of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and national lockdown implemented to help curb its local spread.
Microbusiness have a vital role to play in rebuilding South Africa’s economy in a post-COVID-19-pandemic world, with a major goal of the South African Government being to strengthen small and medium sized companies. Doing so, is quite difficult within a challenging business environment, where even pre-COVID-19 South Africa already had amongst the highest start-up failure rates globally. Moreover, the GEM 2019/2020 report also found that for the local population (aged 18–64), fear of failure is a major obstacle preventing them from starting up a business in the country.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AMAZI, Divya Vasant, provides her Top 3 ways through which the company’s Incubation Programme will alleviate the major concerns and fears female entrepreneurs have that prevent them from starting their own businesses.
#1 Fear due to a lack of support and infrastructure
Like most other local industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the wellness industry, and has resulted in many skilled women who worked as beauty technicians and stylists in salons being unemployed at home. These women, however, sport the knowledge and skills to potentially run their own ventures.
A lot of them want to be entrepreneurial, but are scared of doing so. AMAZI’s Incubator Programme will assist these women to get back on their feet. The incubation program will target women who have previously acquired technical beauty training and skills, and have worked in the industry, but as a result of COVID have lost their jobs and now want to learn to run their own businesses. The programme is an opportunity to provide a supported and cushioned way for a woman to ease herself into being a micro-entrepreneur in order to capitalise on one of the biggest income opportunities for women in South Africa.
The Programme takes the fear experienced by these female entrepreneurs away because they are supported from application to onboarding into the initiative. They submit their application to the Programme and the top candidates undergo a five-day business bootcamp where they receive amongst others, help with creating a business plan for the sustainability of their income for their businesses. Following the successful completion of this bootcamp, AMAZI selects candidates to continue into the Incubator Programme, during which those female entrepreneurs run their new venture out of one of AMAZI’s stores across the country over a 12-month period.
#2 Fear of not being able to manage stock, find customers and run a business
All of the Incubation Programme participants will receive a professional kit that includes all of the equipment and stock they will require to be able to service their client base out of our commercial stores (branded to match their corporate look and feel).
In addition, they also get a point-of-sale system and payment devices, enabling them to run their own microenterprise from within AMAZI’s infrastructure. AMAZI helps them build upon or expand their client base by leveraging its own list of clients.
Last but definitely not least, these entrepreneurs receive four to six hours of mentoring from AMAZI on running their business, managing stock levels, branding and marketing amongst other topics or management areas in which they might be lacking.
#3 Fear of not keeping up with finances and debts associated with running a venture
When it comes to the cost of this programme, AMAZI decided that the percentage of cost recovery for itself will be based upon the level of success achieved by each individual entrepreneur. The idea behind this structure is that AMAZI does not want to penalise a participant in the programme that is not gaining momentum quickly enough in terms of the growth of the business.
Moreover, AMAZI actually does not charge a lot below a certain level of performance. That is where the company actually subsidises a lot of this initiative’s cost. The aim of the Incubation Programme is to provide a more cushioned path towards becoming a successful entrepreneur with a sustainable business and with the right level of support South Africa’s many female entrepreneurs in this space will be able to live up to and even exceed their tremendous potential of playing a meaningful role in uplifting SA’s economic growth, contributing to the alleviation of unemployment, and helping to foster innovation within the beauty and health sectors locally.