Stumbling blocks open doors for new business venture
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Ever heard of Project Runway - an American television show that gives aspiring fashion designers an opportunity to showcase their skills and talent while getting the necessary critique to hone their craft?
Imagine if the same concept existed for small business owners, where they are afforded the opportunity to get in the same room as business decision-makers for the much-needed advice, constructive critiquing, and exposure.
Well, it does. Small Business Runway, an agency that caters to small businesses and aims to form a structure that gives support to entrepreneurs while creating a community for like-minded entrepreneurs, seeks to do just that.
The agency has different offerings, one of which is their business seminars, and will be hosting their fourth one for the year 2021, this coming Saturday.
Small Business Runway is the brainchild of 30-year-old Gcina Madonsela from Spruitview, who was inspired to come up with such a business after her own fair share of challenges in her entrepreneurial journey.
“You know when you try knocking on every door thinking your help will come from there but constantly hit a brick wall? I have also experienced those exact misfortunes that have even forced me to forsake the dream of being a business owner and return to corporate. Things were bad,” she said.
The business bug bit Madonsela back in 2014 when she tried starting a brand activation company and was sent from pillar to post, and parting with thousands of rands even before she could make money from the business.
“So I looked for a centralised place where start-up entrepreneurs can go to, to get those necessary services and the empowerment all in one without spending an arm and a leg.
“I couldn’t find one full-service business how I wanted it and that is when I decided to start it to help those who find themselves in a similar situation like I did.
“Granted there are business consultants around, advice and training but I don’t know someone who offers full services from registering to company profiles, websites, training, sales, promotion, and even PR - crucial business services that upcoming entrepreneurs are not privy to,” she said.
Their business events bring key information, key players in the business sector, and inspiration in one room - with hopes of igniting the passion and bringing knowledge closer to the entrepreneurs in townships especially.
Although initially hosted at the Gallagher Estate Convention Centre, Mandonsela says they eventually realised how it counteracted their aim of reaching their target audience in townships. It has since been staged in Alexandra, Soweto, and Ekurhuleni.
“We have hosted eight events thus far and the upcoming one this weekend will be our fourth this year alone - both online and in-person. What happens is literally an exchange of information, it presents itself as a networking session, a space to connect with key business players and also where we inspire each other as entrepreneurs,” she said.
Their buffet of speakers for this coming Saturday, hosted in Boksburg, will include speakers like Noma Gigaba, Thokozani Miya - the owner of Neo Aviation taxi operator, and Lebo Phasha who is the general manager of the African Management Institute, coupled with educational workshops that will target crucial topics.
“It’s not that we don’t have willing entrepreneurs in South Africa, on the contrary, we have brilliant young minds full of solutions who are not given a chance,” she said.