training, learnerships, mqa
ERGO INVESTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMMES
CEO Niël Pretorius has, on several occasions, spoken out publicly about the need to develop job creators in South Africa. In response to this call, Ergo has committed R4 million over the next ﬁve years to a project aimed at developing carefully selected SMMEs from the communities around the Ergo operation. This programme, which has been in the pipeline for some ﬁve years, will complete the ﬁnal phase of the EBDA business model.
EBDA has always been positioned in the market as a business development academy and not simply a training centre, thus giving credence to its slogan ‘from unemployment to self-employment’.
Ergo has incorporated this project as its ﬂagship local economic development project (outlined in the Social and Labour Plan submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources for the period 2014 to 2018) which has added impetus to getting the project off the ground.
The project will take the form of a strategic alliance between Ergo and the existing shareholders of Lepharo, a company that specialises in the business incubation of SMMEs. Lepharo was established in 2010 and it is currently sponsored by Impala Platinum, Exxaro, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and the Department of Trade and Industry via its Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).
The board of Lepharo has proposed a R61 million expansion project aimed at increasing the capacity and throughput of its existing facility in Struisbult, Brakpan. The Ergo board has approved a resolution whereby Ergo will participate as a key strategic partner in this expansion programme and Piet Pistorius, academy manager at EBDA, has been appointed onto the Lepharo board to represent the interests of Ergo and DRDGOLD.
The following principles will form the basis of this project:
• Ergo will recruit SMME owners from the Ekurhuleni region. Particular attention will be paid to applicants from previously disadvantaged groups. Other applicants are however welcome to make applications.
• Selected graduates from EBDA’s various engineering and other technical programmes will also be trained in the New Venture Creation learnerships. These will give participants the skills required to successfully run their own businesses.
• All SMME owners who are enrolled in the project will be required to sign an undertaking that they will participate in a well-structured business incubation and mentoring programme lasting approximately two years. Business owners will be required to meet with a panel of business coaches employed by Lepharo at regular intervals. This will ensure that the individuals can be coached and trained as needed, and their businesses monitored.
• An important aspect of this project is linking the SMMEs to the Ergo supply chain as approved vendors. In addition, all procurement governance requirements will need to be met and the SMME owners will be assisted in meeting these procurement standards.
• Progress against targets will be reported to the Ergo board and to the DMR.
This bold initiative will provide a well- resourced, appropriately structured and professionally managed programme. It is expected to yield signiﬁcant beneﬁts not only to Ergo and its operations, but also to the communities and the country at large. As these micro enterprises grow into sustainable businesses, they will in turn make important contributions to employment and poverty alleviation, thereby uplifting the quality of life of residents in the immediate communities and beyond. Said Piet Pistorius: “Through this strategy, Ergo and DRDGOLD will leave a lasting footprint in the lives of many South Africans.”
EBDA is a leading training provider in the Ekurhuleni district of Gauteng, South Africa