Mentorship programme launched for disabled SA entrepreneurs

The Hope Factory, an entity of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), has launched a mentorship programme designed to empower and enable physically disabled entrepreneurs in KwaZulu-Natal.

The programme has been launched by The Hope Factory in partnership with Transnet Pipelines South Africa in Durban, and consists of 10 disabled entrepreneurs from a range of different industries.

It is aimed at empowering and enabling entrepreneurs who are physically disabled to develop personal and business skills to grow and improve their businesses. The programme offers participants an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills that can help them on the road towards financial freedom and personal dignity.

There are also opportunities to become regular suppliers of Transnet Pipelines.

“As a business mentor, walking hand-in-hand with an entrepreneur on their journey to success and prosperity, through the highest high’s and low’s and ever changing business and personal terrain daily – is one of the greatest privileges that we cherish most here at The Hope Factory,” said Sipho Pilime, special projects manager at The Hope Factory.

“This programme for people with disability is an amazing opportunity to achieve genuine and measurable transformation for this community of people who are often excluded from economic participation.”

Business mentorship is offered alongside a range of other service offerings, such as exposure to market, access to industry expertise, networking, business clinics and entrepreneur financial services.

The Medunsa Organisation of Disabled Entrepreneurs (MODE) was identified as an ideal source of candidates for the mentoring programme, based on its empowering philosophy. The MODE programme is highly practical, taking the beneficiary from startup to operational.

Kitumetsi Ntombela, supplier and enterprise development specialist at Transnet Pipelines said working with The Hope Factory was a natural fit for the company, and that the new programme as “unique and groundbreaking”.

“It was aimed at tapping into the segment of black disabled business owners, whom we at TPL have found through research and analysis that they still face barriers to accessing our procurement opportunities in South Africa,” Ntombela said.

“Our vision is to see these beneficiaries progress from being “circumstantial” entrepreneurs into world-class and highly competitive business owners with the hope that one or more of these SMMEs will graduate into becoming a very active part of TPL’s supply base.”

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