Business commentary colin proudfoot

2016-08-18 06:00
Colin Proudfoot is a business turnaround specialist. As a service to the local community he provides free business advice to emerging entrepreneurs.

Colin Proudfoot is a business turnaround specialist. As a service to the local community he provides free business advice to emerging entrepreneurs.

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IN the past few weeks I have met a number of aspiring young entrepreneurs. There are those who have spotted a gap in the market and wish to start a business.
Others have heard of an existing business for sale and are investigating the possibility of making an investment. As a business advisor should do, I challenge their thinking, question their motivation and test their grasp of the market they are looking into. What I find refreshing is their keenness to engage, their willingness to learn and the absolute delight they display in being part of creating a plan and a strategy for the next step. Associating with these young people gives me even more reason to believe that the socio economic challenges we face can be overcome.

As if to reinforce my belief, I recently received a call from a local educational institution wanting to find out more about the work we do with emerging entrepreneurs. We set up a meeting at which the representative from the institution outlined their plans to introduce practical trade training from grade nine level for students who are more technically inclined.
This is an established independent educational institution with a very good matric pass rate history so I was interested to find out the reason for wanting to introduce trade skills based education that will require substantial investment in new facilities and new teaching resources. Their response was along the lines that the purpose of effective education is to equip pupil to make a life for themselves by being skilled and employable. We live in a region that employs plumbers, electricians, cabinet makers, bricklayers and other skilled artisans so why punch out too many of what we don’t need and not enough of what we do need? It takes just one institution like this to have a vision that will change lives.

The final part in this week’s “feel good trilogy” stems from doing research into supplier development programmes offered by major retail groups.
If we want to address high unemployment in this region the retail sector has to support locally made products. From my initial investigation it appears that they go beyond expectations. A full spectrum of support is offered including finance, mentoring and skills development. Their websites are full of success stories reinforcing my belief that there is always a way to tackle the challenges that face our region, provided the major role players put their muscle behind these initiatives.

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