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Is this just another management development program? There are numerous similar programs on the market. The difference is that it has been ‘tested’, developed and proved to be successful over the past decades, in third world countries. It is focused on small and especially micro-enterprises from the informal sector which can be developed to become job creators. “One of our most successful projects is in Zimbabwe. People are amazed, given the background of everything happening in Zimbabwe at the moment but our program is focused on entrepreneurs to help them to overcome such problems”, says Ms. Mafelile Molala-Saidi, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO in Southern Africa.

The ILO realized something in the 1970’s that is common knowledge today: that jobs are not created by large corporations but by small businesses, by developing entrepreneurship at ground level and by creating the opportunity to develop. This resulted in a program which was focused on encouraging creation of micro enterprises and home industries in developing countries. “In the 1990’s we realized that there is a need for a program to assist with the growth of micro-enterprises, especially in the informal sector. This resulted in the EYB program which is now introduced in South Africa”, said Molal-Saidi.

The ILO has a valuable partner in South Africa, namely CHAMSA which was established two years ago from the joining of the four business organizations, the South African Chamber of Business (SACOB), the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI), the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (NAFCOC) and the Foundation of African Business and Consumer Services (FABCOS). Over the past few months, 13 members from NAFCOC and FABCOS, mainly small business owners in townships, were hand picked to launch a project of the EYB with a South African’ flavour’ . This is a training and mentorship program which is presented in conjunction with a South African partner company of the ILO, Mavu Business Solutions of Mr. Lloyd Guzha-Chanetsa. Over the past 2 years, Guzha-Chanetsa joined this program in Zimbabwe where he was trained by Molala-Saidi to become a mentor for the program in South Africa.

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