On 2 April 2015 the Euclid Society will be holding a graduation ceremony for the candidates who have completed our pilot programme, Financial Literacy, or "FinLit" as we like to call it.
The ceremony will be at the University of Cape Town in Rondebosch against the setting of education and sustainability - two objectives the FinLit programme aims to bring about. FinLit represents a systematic and comprehensive method to improve the professional skills of businesses from low-income backgrounds. Developing the business acumen of enterprises from low-income backgrounds is integral to their ability to stay economically sustainable in the modern commercial environment and via that thinking, FinLit was born.
The programme started in April 2014 when two candidates, RAW Plasterers and NK Security, were chosen to be the pilot students to the programme. Both were newly formed companies with the main management from impoverished backgrounds who knew the practical way of doing business but stuttered at contractual and governance related issues. Many businesses in developing communities struggle with these soft-skills and this is the knowledge transfer we as an organisation hope to achieve. By introducing candidates to management techniques that help them better control their daily operations, methods of book-keeping that better track inventory flow, offering possible marketing options to grow their business jurisdiction and other similar professional understandings, we have set the objective of improving the efficiency of how their business operates and ultimately make their enterprise sustainable.
Both candidates have also been students of the GetSmarter short courses held via the University of Cape Town. We urge all our candidates to complete a business related short course to help them with the running of their specific enterprise. For the plastering subcontractor, the owner elected to do Project Management - "It was a tough course, especially because I had to complete assignments and have weekly hand-ins but the strange thing was that I practically knew most of the work, I had just never thought of it in the way the course had explained. For example the technical aspects detailed by the course helped with all the little things our business would often miss." Those were the sentiments of Riedah Davids, owner of RAW plasterers. Nathan Kalenga, owner of NK Security Contractors completed the short course in Health and safety. His main benefits from FinLit was gaining improved contractual knowledge and drawing up a sound business plan for his company from which he could base future strategies.
Our newest candidate is Roberto from District Six Recycling. Our key focus with this is to create a definite client base and source long-term agreements for Roberto to recycle client waste and unwanted goods. This not only benefits Roberto who is from a low-income background, but also the homeless whom he has met during his work at the Haven Night Shelter. This urged him to offer employment to two homeless people at the Haven who help sort the waste he collects which achieves job creation for homeless. As his business sustainability improves, he hopes to give the same opportunities to similarly destitute people that he is able employ.
We hope the evening can be a showcase of what is achievable when concentrated and technical approaches are taken towards the establishment and sustainability of a professional low-income business sector. We wish our previous candidates well and look forward to what they, and future candidates, will achieve in the years to come.