The Business Place (TBP), established by Investec in the
Johannesburg central district business six years ago, has evolved
into a comprehensive network of business-support centres at seven
sites in South Africa and Botswana, and the first of six additional
centres scheduled to be established this year, situated in the
township of Alexandra, opened its doors last week. Plans are in the
pipeline to launch two more in June in Bronkhorstspruit and in the
TBP in Alexandra is a partnership with the Alexandra Renewal Pro-ject, funded largely by the Gauteng Department of Housing, the City of Joburg and Investec.
TBP operations are located in Kliptown, Johannesburg, King
William’s Town, Philippi, Cape Town and Gaborone, and they
all operate with the support of a strong network team funded by
Last year, more than 23 000 people sought advice or assistance at three of the TBP centres. So far this year, another 8 000 visitors have come through the doors nationally. The Johannesburg information centre sees over 2 200 entrepreneurs a month and increasingly they are over the age of 35, demonstrating that the centres are not only servic-ing the youth.
Nearly 3 000 clients have made use of the Internet and typing facili-ties on offer for research and docu- ment generation. The centre in Alexandra will offer one-on-one consultations on practical steps in starting or expanding a business, workshops designed to empower entrepreneurs to make informed decisions regarding their businesses, and business training that equips the entrepreneur to manage stock, pricing and the basic finances of his or her business. It will also offer free legal services by Jowell Glyn & Marais for business-related advice and networking sessions for entrepreneurs representing different industries.
Alexandra Renewal Project director Julian Baskin says the main objective of the Alexandra TBP is to reduce unemployment and poverty in a sustainable manner, through spatial integration and skills training, focused on women and the youth. “We’ve partnered with TBP because it is vital in assisting people to start their own businesses as well as helping existing businesses improve their operating efficiencies.”
Another recent development for the TBP franchise sees Investec donating the intellectual property it has developed and acquired over the last seven years to the Business Place Network (BPN), a new Section 21 company. The BPN will become the new licensor of the initiatives. “It is envisaged that the trust will become a core donor and supporter of the TBP network to bolster its sustainability. “We wanted to bridge the huge divide between the corporate world of resources, expertise, skill and people who are generally removed from networks and opportunities,” notes head of the Investec entrepreneurship development trust Lisa Kropman.