A newly empowered group of entrepreneurs graduates from the FLAME 2.0 programme

The Hope Factory ASISA Flame 2

Fifteen entrepreneurs graduated recently from the second phase of the ASISA Foundation Financial Literacy and Micro Enterprise Programme (FLAME 2.0) in Qonce, in the Eastern Cape.

The FLAME 2.0 programme empowers beneficiaries from previously disadvantaged communities with basic entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills to foster financial capability and enable greater economic activity.

In 2019, The Hope Factory 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). Together they implemented the King Williams Town FLAME programme.

Growth in the face of much hardship

 “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,” says Ruth Benjamin- Swales, ASISA Foundation CEO.

“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,” says the FLAME team.

Nevertheless, the programme team saw a 9.6% increase in the participants’ net profits overall, regardless of the drop in their total income. The Hope Factory and 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. There was many a time during the pandemic that checking in on the entrepreneurs helped me on my own business journey. 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,” says Patricia Dlamini, FLAME 2.0 Programme coach.

HAVE YOU READ: Flame empowers small business owners to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic

Invaluable lessons learnt

Despite Covid-19 and lockdown, landscaping and property development business owner, Siyabulela Sinxo increased his total profits by 72.5% since starting the programme in 2019. He shared some of his most valuable lessons 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 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. I also 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 skills empowerment of our entrepreneurs.

Boosting financial literacy

“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.

Jill concludes: “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 look forward to the implementation of Phase 3 in the coming weeks.”

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