Economic Opportunities MEC, Alan Winde officially opened the Angels Resource Centre’s virtual incubator, aimed to assist micro and rural entrepreneurs in the Southern Peninsula, on Monday September 18.
Based in Fish Hoek’s Town Square, the centre is the first in the Western Cape.
It is a registered NPO that invites companies to invest in enterprise development and socio-economic development or to assist through social corporate investments by contributing funds to various approved beneficiaries.
Founder and social anthropologist, Lizelle Coomb’s says the purpose of the virtual incubator is to provide a space where entrepreneurs or job seekers can work for the resource centre for a stipend, gain experience and then move on to continue their own businesses or apply for a job with their new-found skills and experience.
The incubator provides partially sponsored services to the entrepreneurialcommunity through the incubates working there and is open to the public.
She says some services can be used by the public for which they pay and the services offered depends on the funds received. The more funds, the more items the centre can purchase to sell to the public. She explains that the incubator then very quickly becomes self-sustaining. “We keep the incubators small with maximum five members of staff, which helps with managing overheads and the money generated goes back into the incubator as it is operated as an NPO,” Ms Coombs said.
The Angels Resource Centre was officially established in 2014.
Ms Coombs said she has always had an interest in different cultures and how they do business. Due to her interests in different cultures, she often travelled to small towns and rural areas across South Africa, noting that people in those areas viewed business and the way they make a living differently.
“I gradually started training people in those areas, giving motivational talks and teaching them how to work with money – just the basics of running a small businesses and it made a huge difference,” she said.
She found that supporting existing entrepreneurs in the communities, creating sustainable business practices and job creation was just so much faster than trying to create new entrepreneurs. “We support the new and aspiring entrepreneurs as well, but our focus for recruitment is on existing entrepreneurs,” she said.
The Angels team consists of Ms Coombs, Tina Thiart, non-executive director and startup investor, Kay Inkster and treasurer, Zachariah George.
Ms Inkster said she has been living in South Africa for the past 11 years and comes from the United Kingdom where she worked in the oil and gas industry for 15 years. Being an entrepreneur in her own right, she wanted to give back to the people of South Africa and she knew the best way to do that was to empower people to create their own wealth, sustain it and create jobs. She said it was difficult to be accepted in the communities at first as she was not local and realised the best way to do so was to find someone like Ms Coombs who could speak the language
of the people and who had already
gained their trust and connected with them.
“I was very fortunate to have met Lizelle as she had the passion and the skills so I gave her the start-up capital to fund the training programmes,” Ms Inkster said.
She said almost 5 000 entrepreneurs have successfully gone through the training programmes the centre offers.
Minister Winde who was an entrepreneur before becoming a politician congratulated Ms Coombs on the start-up of the first Western Cape incubator. His role as Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities is to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to become successful which includes red tape reduction and the roll out of broadband.
For more information, visit the Angels Resource Centre in Fish Hoek Town Square or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website on www.angelsinc.co.za