On 2 April the Euclid Society held the inaugural Graduation Ceremony for the FinLit programme: our business development method used to establish small-medium enterprises by entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds. April also represents the one-year anniversary of the organisation - one year of finding ways to bring together community members and corporate organisations in the aims of social development.
FinLit is a special programme for us as it was the first child of the Euclid Society - the first method that we saw necessary to bring about the type of change we wanted. The idea is simple: Find a start-up business or entrepreneur from low-income backgrounds and build their business to a position of economic sustainability where it becomes an asset for himself, his family and his community. Well when I say it like that it sounds bold but my friend Mcebo will speak later as to how we go about providing the platform that promotes business development through skills transfer.
The evening was started off by the one of the founding members, David Oliphant, introduced some of the more over-arching objectives of the Euclid Society. Following that, the programme director, Mcebo Ntombela, gave a few sincere words to the graduates on what it is to be an entrepreneur. "Own your failures" was the theme Mcebo's speech had taken and it spoke to the ability of entrepreneurs to fail but to also learn from those stumbling blocks and use them to build to much greater future successes. Hassan Khan, CEO of the Haven Night Shelters then gave an inspiring and thought provoking talk on fighting unemployment through the creation of employment at grassroots level which gave a wonderful insight into the necessity of up-skilling entrepreneurs from low-income circumstances. Mbulelo Gushu, the co-founding member and programme administrator then closed the evening with a call for a collective purpose towards to the development of the more informal business sector.
The most beautiful part of the evening was graduating the pilot candidates to the programme. We graduated Nathan Kalenga of NK Security: A security company on construction sites in the Cape Town CBD. With Nathan we focused on his company documentation and his ability to understand contractual information - two aspects which halted him from growing his business and taking it towards sustainability. The second candidate was RAW Plasterers: the owner, Riedah Davids, was taught professional skills of proper claim and invoicing procedures. He also learnt much from the management skills we aimed to transfer and how to properly monitor labour and material efficiencies and wastages. From each candidate we have witnessed great results of increased turnover and better tracking of resources due to a focused approach towards economic sustainability. Both candidates have also taken on the Getsmarter short courses offered at the University of Cape Town in Health and Safety and Project Management respectively. We have since taken on Roberto of District Six Recycling: our focus with him is to establish a reliable client base and develop an infrastructure for branding and marketing that will be able to grow his business jurisdiction in future.
The most long-lasting impact we could have is to provide skills to those who otherwise would have struggled, due to the economic background, to have access to methods of skills development. All our programmes are evidenced by methods of skills transfer and monitoring to the point that we are able to make a measure as to the level of sustainability reached. That is the goal year on year, to understand our programmes better, knowing the environment and the people we try to help more and more and more effectively coming to terms with complex situations - that we feel will be the check-list for our aim of providing sustainability in all that we do - but sustainability through the understanding that we are a collective and only through advancing the collective will individuals advance too. That is the pluralistic nature that guides the decisions we make as a non-profit company; the idea that our skills are not our own, they are for service for those around us because education is to further yourself and equally your community.
If you are a business who wants to develop your professional skills, please contact Mbulelo Gushu on az.gro.set@olelubm
and send your business plan in for review and you could be chosen to be a candidate of our programme.
For more information on the programme, or to simply get involved with the empowerment of communities through the use of your professional skills, please email Mbulelo or phone him on 082 534 0012.
The Euclid Society: Illuminating potential
About the Author: David Oliphant
David is a concerned citizen from an engineering background who understands that to further himself, society must equally move forward.
Based on that principle, he is a member of the Euclid Society where they use professional skills as social consultants to problem-solve challenges that are found in society. He enjoys this because it helps others in ways that not many would have offered them help; for whatever reason whether it be the challenge or the lack of resources to face those challenges. This is a passion because the good done is so tangible that it makes everyone want to do more.