Empowering entrepreneurs, fuelling success: Entrepreneurs’ Network

VC Event at UVU Africa

Joshua Friedman, Programme and Development Manager, Cape SAJBD, in conversation with Dawn Nathan-Jones, Cape Council Board Member and Associate Relations Chair

Entrepreneurs’ Network Cape Town (EN) is a dynamic platform that has quickly become a catalyst for entrepreneur growth, skills development, and job creation. The brainchild of Dawn Nathan-Jones, a prominent business leader, entrepreneur and co-owner of Over the Rainbow (OTR), EN aims to provide small businesses with networking opportunities, growth prospects, and valuable peer-to-peer learning experiences.

How did EN begin and what inspired you to create it?

EN was established less than a year ago through a collaborative effort between the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO), ORT Jet Cape, the Cape SAJBD, and Over the Rainbow. The initiative was born out of a post-Covid need to assist and support micro-businesses in their journey towards growth and success. By bringing together entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and cultures, EN fosters an environment where businesses can thrive, skillsets can be shared, and meaningful connections can be forged.

The inspiration behind EN stems from a desire to uplift smaller businesses and contribute to poverty alleviation in South Africa. By empowering and enabling these businesses to flourish, EN believes that it can make a positive impact on the local economy. Active citizenship and social responsibility drive the initiative’s commitment to supporting and nurturing small businesses.

What EN events have been hosted to date? 

EN has organised several impactful events since its inception, each designed to address the needs and challenges expressed by the entrepreneurs themselves. These events have covered a range of topics, including venture capital for entrepreneurs, business registration processes, and sales skills training. Additionally, monthly forums are held to encourage collaboration, knowledge sharing, and personal development among the entrepreneurs, guided by the principles of the Gestaldt Mindset.

What are some of its key successes to date?

The network’s achievements in such a short time are impressive. To date, EN has hosted four large-scale events, each attracting approximately 60 entrepreneurs. Over 18 forum meetings have taken place, providing ample opportunities for collaboration and shared learning. EN members have also had access to 10 business and networking events organised by partner organisations. Furthermore, a facilitator and moderator training programme has been implemented, resulting in 14 qualified moderators who enhance the effective-ness of the network’s activities.

EN’s impact extends beyond knowledge sharing and networking. Approximately 10 new jobs have been created through the network’s initiatives, with the potential for more in the future. Furthermore, EN estimates that it has facilitated approximately
R10 million worth of new business through member-to-member transactions, highlighting the tangible results of its networking efforts.

What is your vision for EN?

First and foremost, to create jobs. In addition, EN is a pipeline or ‘feeder’ for entrepreneurs to connect with prominent organisations like the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO). The long-term goal is to positively impact the lives of 100,000 entrepreneurs within the next three years, indicating the network’s ambition and commitment to driving meaningful change.

Entrepreneurs interested in joining EN can visit the network’s website, www.encapetown.com, for more information. While the 2023 cohort is already full, applications for the 2024 cohort will open online in September. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit their applications through the EN website or the websites of the partner organisations, which will provide updates on the application process.

R10 million – New business transacted

10 – new jobs created

52 – committed entrepreneurs

105+ – hours of learning

130+ – days of networking

50+ – volunteers, mentors and guest speakers

Entrepreneurs’ Network is a joint initiative of the Cape SAJBD, ORT Jet Cape, EO and Over the Rainbow

Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies website: www.capesajbd.org, Instagram, and Facebook page.

• Published in the July 2023 issue – Click here to start reading.

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