On Tuesday, at the Steve Biko Centre in Qonce, 15 entrepreneurs graduated from the second phase of the ASISA Foundation Financial Literacy and Micro Enterprise Programme (FLAME 2.0).
The FLAME 2.0 programme empowers beneficiaries from previous disadvantaged communities with basic entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills to foster financial capability and enable greater economic activity.
Since 2019 The Hope Factory (THF) partnered with the ASISA Foundation, the founder of the FLAME Programme and a Non-Profit Organisation established by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) and together they implemented the King Williams Town FLAME programme.
“I have been so encouraged and impressed by what all the entrepreneurs have achieved both individually and as a group. In the midst of much hardship during Covid-19, in the midst of loss, in the midst of many challenges and many modified changes to the programme in phase two, we are here today to keep looking for the silver lining and positive opportunities that have risen as a result of the storm,” said Ruth Benjamin – Swales, CEO ASISA Foundation.
“We are so pleased to be able to share that 93% of the small businesses are still trading regardless of the Covid-19 impact and 33% pivoted their business products and services to remain trading.
“Although the majority of the FLAME programme participants experienced a drop in overall income, due to Covid-19, we are proud at the tenacity they showed to bounce back and continue to stay motivated not only for their businesses but for the programme.”
Nevertheless, the programme team saw a 9.6% increase in the participant’s net profits overall, regardless of the drop in their total income; and for that The Hope Factory together with ASISA Foundation commend each individual’s efforts as they continue to push forward and strive for growth and sustainability.
“Through the storms of 2020 we had each other. One of the joys of coaching is the ability to listen and learn from your entrepreneurs and there was many a time during the pandemic that checking in on the entrepreneurs helped me on my own business journey,” said Patricia Dlamini, FLAME Phase 2 Programme coach.
“Each and every one of the entrepreneurs stood up during the storm of lockdown and pushed through together, reflecting the greatness of togetherness. Thank you for allowing me to be an influence and keep your flame alive as you start your next season on Phase 3.”
Despite Covid-19 and lockdown, landscaping and property development business owner, Siyabulela Sinxo increased his total profits by 72.5% since he first started the programme in 2019.
Siyabulela shared some of his most valuable lessons with us during his message to his fellow graduates.
“I learnt so much from being part of the FLAME programme, especially in the realm of costing and business finance skills. I initially started out as a grass cutter but over time my business evolved and grew. I not only effectively learnt how to start charging my customers correctly based on quality of service, I also was able to effectively pivot my business towards more sustainable goals as well as I learnt the valuable lesson of saving. I used to wake up not knowing what I was going to do, but now I have so many plans and the ability to actively start implementing them.”
As part of the Nation Building division of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), The Hope Factory is passionate about economic transformation through the personal development and business skill empowerment of our entrepreneurs.
“One of the highlights of this programme for The Hope Factory has been to lead the content design for the FLAME 2.0 programme. As part of SAICA, we understand the vital importance of financial literacy and so it makes perfect sense that we would partner with the ASISA Foundation in developing content that can support small business development. We are so proud of the graduates today for their commitment, grit and tenacity,” says Jill Johnson, Senior Executive of The Hope Factory,
In closing Jill also comments, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ASISA Foundation for considering us as a key partner for the FLAME 2.0 programme. We value this partnership and we look forward to the implementation of Phase 3 in the coming weeks.”