By Mpofu Sthandile
Grand-Pa, equips small business owners every year with knowledge and skills through its Spaza Academy. Since its establishment in 2013, Grand-Pa has empowered over 1400 small business owners and township entrepreneurs across Gauteng.
The Grand-Pa Spaza Academy is a training programme, facilitated by Youth Lab (non-profit company (NPC), designed to equip small business owners with the skills they need to build and grow sustainable and profitable businesses. This year, the academy focused on small business owners from Soweto, Vosloorus, and Orange Farm.
“We are grateful to form part of this amazing project. We’ve seen many small business owners return with inspiring success stories over the years. This inspires us to keep going,” says Mangaka Letsobe, Project Facilitator at Youth Lab.
Letsobe does not doubt that the most recent cohort will, like previous cohorts, return with stories of triumph and further grow their communities, and ultimately, the national economy.
The first of 5 groups of winners came from the Soweto participants with Nompumelelo Gabela winning the first cash prize of R20 000. Coming in second place was Lerato Kulati, who won R15 000. Lebohang Nkatlo won the third-place cash prize of R10 000, and Siyasanga Sipholisi the fourth place and won the cash prize of R5000.
Previous winners and graduates alike believe the cash prize benefits the growth and sustainability of their businesses. However, the skills and knowledge they received from the programme are priceless, allowing them to sustainably grow their businesses for years to come.
Gcinetheni Chili, 2019 spaza academy winner from Vosloorus, joined the academy in hopes of expanding her business. In an interview three months after completing the programme Chili said, “I wanted to know how to deal with my customers better and to be a better businesswoman, I have enjoyed working together with everyone as a team and the help from the facilitators.”
Echoing Chili’s sentiments, recent spaza academy participant Ayanda Nkosi agrees that the academy was incredibly valuable. “Before I joined the Spaza academy, I was not budgeting properly. I was just selling products and taking money without keeping a sales record. I learned a lot about managing business finances, budgeting, and advertising through the programme,” said Nkosi.
In future Grandpa plans to expand the programme beyond Gauteng. We’ve had great success in Gauteng, and we know there are small businesses all over South Africa who can benefit from the training programme, so we plan to expand sometime in the future”
Letsobe would like to encourage small business owners who would like to grow their businesses to join the programme, by sending a text to 076 666 3173 on WhatsApp.
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