Over the past four months Absa has successfully collaborated with the private and public sectors as well as non-profit organisations from across Gauteng to host 70 business seminars and workshops. These seminars have empowered over 4 000 small business owners across the province with both entrepreneurial skills and non-financial support.

The seminars also provided free advice to participants to help solve some of the challenges that entrepreneurs face. This included funding and customised services to help businesses succeed in Gauteng’s vibrant economy.

“The seminars we have hosted form part of Absa’s strategic objective to help entrepreneurs grow,” says Banie Claasen, newly appointed Provincial Managing Executive of Absa in Gauteng South.

He adds: “We are particularly proud that 65% of the beneficiaries of our seminars were youth and women. A total of 1 050 youth were assisted including students and local businesses at the Gauteng South West College Entrepreneurship seminar in Soweto and learners participating in the Junior Achievers South Africa (JASA) Programme in Orange Farm.”

In partnership with organisations such as GIBS, CWENA, Ekurhuleni Outreach programmes, Humana and the South African Black Hawkers Association (SABHIBA), Absa has empowered a further 878 women-owned enterprises to boost their understanding of finance applications. The seminars covered various townships in the province including: Molapo, Wattville, Dobsonville, Daveyton, Tembisa, Diepsloot and Vosloorus.

Absa expects to assist 2 500 more entrepreneurs by the end of the year (2015) through hosting a series of additional seminars, workshops and SME exhibitions at the Riversands Incubator, Township Expo in Soweto and the greater townships within the Ekurhuleni Metro.