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School of Accountancy hosts skills workshop for small business owners
Author: Juan Ontong
Published: 31/05/2024
​​Small business owners with their certificates of completion

A recently formed partnership between the School of Accountancy (SoA) at Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Incarceration Nations Network (INN) gave rise to an accountancy and business acumen workshop hosted at SU from 21 to 22 May. Small business owners from Philippi, Nyanga and surrounding areas were invited to attend this two-day upskilling initiative. The workshop focused on providing participants with knowledge of auditing, financial accounting, and taxation as well as practical guidance from established small business owners. The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with an introduction to various accountancy concepts and principles, and to demonstrate the intersection between higher education and social impact. These aspects are often operationalised in isolation, with the former primarily focused on teaching, learning and assessment.

Small business owners with Juan Ontong and Ilse Frans

The participants own a variety of small businesses, some of which include retail of meat, clothing, toiletries, weaves, and leasing of property. Overall, they highlighted the value that a workshop of this nature offered in improving their business management from a financial perspective.

One shared: “I enjoyed every moment and every lecture… giving us information and providing skills for us to be strong and business minded. I enjoyed it very well [sic] and wish to come again with other business owners…”

Regan Everts teaching workshop

While another commented: “[the workshop] has a big positive role in [sic] small business owners, because we gain skills that we didn’t know on how to run a business professionally and also to improve our business.”

The group also shared that higher education could play a significant role in addressing the gap in formal training that small business owners obtain, with all participants strongly supporting the continuation of this initiative.

Sher-Lee Arendse-Fourie teaching workshop

Sher-Lee Arendse-Fourie (SoA) one of the project coordinators shared: “This Ex-Cell workshop granted those who may have barriers to tertiary education, a valuable opportunity of business knowledge empowerment to transfer to their small businesses…”

Mthetheleli Ngxeke from INN echoed this sentiment: “The program helped the guys to gain confidence as far as cash flow is concerned. One of the guys mentioned that he used to run his business “from pocket to mouth” but now he has seen the importance of proper cash flow and that it will create a healthy bank balance,” he shared.

Along with Arendse-Fourie, the SU team consisted of additional project coordinators Juan Ontong from the SoA and Ilse Frans from the faculty dean’s office, and presenters: Waldette Engelbrecht, Regan Everts, Cecileen Greef and Armand Bruwer (all from the SoA).

As a social impact project based within an academic home environment the project coordinators are extremely grateful to Prof Pieter von Wielligh (Director – SoA) and Prof Gretha Steenkamp (Deputy-Director: Social impact and transformation – SoA) for their continued support and encouragement of the project.