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Boost for young NC entrepreneur

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Boutlwane found the two-day personal transformation and strategic planning workshop very useful

Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

KURUMAN youth entrepreneur and geohydrologist, Matlhogonolo Boutlwane, was the only business owner from the Northern Cape to join an elite group of 25 South African small business owners in the Groundswell Accelerator.

The final selection to this prestigious programme was announced earlier this month, following the inaugural workshop held at the Riversands Incubation Hub in Johannesburg in May.

Groundswell is an interactive 18-month programme, supported by seed funding from JP Morgan and uses social enterprise Fetola’s core business development modules as well as group mentoring.

The programme, which focuses on small entrepreneurs working in the green economy, builds entrepreneurial skills and cultivates sound business practices. Since inception in 2007, participants in Fetola programmes typically grow by 50% per year, and have a long-term survival rate of close to 90%.

Boutlwane, who holds a BSc in geology and an Honours in geohydrology from the University of the Free State, recognised a gap in the market in the Northern Cape and returned to her home town of Kuruman to establish her business, Kemisetso Hydrogeological Consultants.

Her company offers geoscience consulting services to local mining houses, government departments, municipalities, and engineering companies.

“Where the need exists for a rural water supply programme or a new clinic, for example, I do a geotechnical survey of the village, taking water and soil samples. After analysing the quality and suitability of the land and water for various uses, I advise about the optimal position for sinking boreholes and building structures and roads,” Boutlwane explained.

Fetola CEO, Catherine Wijnberg, added that it was “exciting to engage with youth entrepreneurs of the calibre of Matlhogonolo, who uses environmentally friendly methods to provide environmental impact assessments to address water shortages and other environmental issues”.

“We believe the programme will assist her to grow further, especially with regard to business and financial management and investment readiness preparation.”

Boutlwane found the two-day personal transformation and strategic planning workshop very useful. “It helped me understand my brand in such a way that I carry it with me, that I talk about it, and that it reflects what I do.”

She learnt that when managing your own business, you don’t need to be an expert in everything, but you must have an idea of what’s going on. “This means that I need basic financial knowledge so that when I outsource my finances, I can keep tabs on the big picture,” she said.

Boutlwane is looking forward to the next workshop, which covers costing and pricing – a crucial fundamental for any small business.

Entrepreneurs wishing to apply for similar business development support are invited to visit Fetola’s website: www.fetola.co.za/projects and register their interest at [email protected]