De Aar Solar Power has announced the funding of a development programme aimed at teaching business skills to community-based entrepreneurs and encouraging sustainable business practices in under-resourced communities.According to the company, the aim of the programme is to take the skills to the identified communities, for local entrepreneurs to be better resourced and upskilled, while remaining in their established locations. The four communities that have been identified live within a 50 km radius of the solar farm. These are: Hanover, Phillipstown, Britstown and De Aar.Hlengiwe Radebe, enterprise development director for De Aar Solar Power, explained that the strategy was to assist and accelerate the sustainability of local enterprises by ploughing financial resources into the local area.“This programme, which aims to teach business skills to rural-based entrepreneurs, is an ideal fit for us,” she said.To start the programme, a series of information and registration sessions will be held in November in the identified areas. These will be managed by the Angels Resource Centre, who will host the programme called “The Big Shake-Up”, from 12 to 16 November in the different towns. A statement released by the solar company stated that 15 top candidates would be identified from each town for a four-day workshop approved by the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta), to be held in January and February.There they will be given the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. “The training will cover a wide variety of topics, including personality and social styles, handling conflict and working with people, marketing and sales, basic customer service, writing a business plan, business administration and finance – as well as how to manage and record transactions, taxes, admin processes, business contracts, insurance, managing staff, business support services, tenders, and how to access funding,” read the statement.The final ten entrepreneurs will win a cash prize and 12 months’ of focused mentoring with a coach to help develop a business plan, as well as bookkeeping, marketing and other business development services.