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Entrepreneurs willing to learn

 Luise Johannes (middle) of Etemo Trading, one of the 388 entrepreneurs who participated in the training programmes hosted by SMEs Compete during 2011A total of 388 small business owners and their staff members  attended 50 business skills development courses presented by SMEs Compete during 2011, says the institution’s director, Danny Meyer. The courses form part of ongoing efforts to impart skills to business owners.
According to SME Compete’s co-founder, Claudine Mouton, entrepreneurs cite the lack of business know-how as one of the main obstacles to grow a business.
“Training specifically caters for entrepreneurs who have been through the mill, as far as starting and running business goes. Individuals who might not have had the benefit of much formal education,” Mouton added.
Of all 2011 training programme attendees, 218 were female and 170 male. The courses on offer have local content and character, and were developed by drawing on experiences and needs of entrepreneurs identified from working with SMEs over the past six years. Furthermore, groups are deliberately kept small to foster a coaching approach and to encourage full participation.
According to Mouton, feedback received from small business owners reflects seriousness when it comes to addressing the skills shortage.
“Seemingly the fairer sex is taking business skills development more serious. Entrepreneurs don’t shy away from requesting help to upgrade their own skills and those of staff members. For this reason and for the sixth year in a row, we will once again work on expanding our training programme and national coverage to cope with the demand,” added Mouton.
The most popular courses amongst entrepreneurs are how to make one’s business a success, as well as bookkeeping and record keeping, followed by an introduction to human resources. SMEs Compete has also developed a ‘Tendering for Results’ programme which is designed to guide entrepreneurs to enter the procurement market. The firm plans to grow the number of courses by 20% in 2012 and projects that the number of participants will exceed 500.
SMEs Compete was established in 2006 and provides wealth and employment creation support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

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