Entrepreneurs’ Network provides support to Cape Town entrepreneurs

ORT Jet Cape’s Lisa Sandler, facilitator, Dillon Jearey, and Dawn Nathan-Jones of Entrepreneurs’ Network

It’s tough running one’s own business, and so entrepreneurs can see significant benefit from outside support. It’s something that South African Jewish businesswoman, Dawn Nathan-Jones, is fully conscious of. And it’s one reason behind her drive in 2022 to establish an organisation called Entrepreneurs’ Network (EN), a joint project of the Cape SAJBD, ORT Jet Cape Town, Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) and Over the Rainbow. As Dawn says, “Research shows that eight out of ten entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months, so we decided to do something about this staggering crash-and-burn statistic. Entrepreneurs supporting Entrepreneurs is at the heart of what EN is about.”

Offering a range of services to assist local entrepreneurs – including access to useful resources, the opportunity to listen to successful businesspeople, and mentorship – a regular feature on the EN calendar is networking opportunities.

A recent networking event was held at Deloitte Cape Town’s offices, and it proved to be a valuable experience for everyone. In addition to learnings gained during a facilitated session for the entire audience of close to 70 business-owners, smaller group sessions were held. These were led by a number of Jewish entrepreneurs, who had so much to share with the attendees.

The Cape Jewish Chronicle spoke to one of the group leaders, Sid Peimer, of Stratplanning Cape Town, a former CEO of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, after the event.

Sid points out that networking has limited value if you are meeting only people from within your community. “You need to gain social capital from being networked with all types of people, especially those from outside your usual circle,” he explains. “The idea is to get fresh insights, and those are more likely to come from people outside of your immediate circle or your own community.”

The EN event highlighted this distinction. It brought together entrepreneurs from all sorts of backgrounds and industries –
from a township food-supplier, to the provider of a platform for software developer staff, to a designer of luxury building interiors, for example – and across genders. Some have fairly well-established enterprises, while others are just trying to get their business off the ground – and can benefit from the guidance of those who have been through and survived the early periods in their business life.

In addition to attending an event like the networking evening organised by EN, Sid recommends that entrepreneurs exploit networking opportunities with so-called ‘weak ties’, i.e. people who are not close friends or colleagues, but people who would accept an invitation for a coffee with you. He says that, “Research shows that those networks can be extremely valuable – but you have to activate them. All it takes is an email or phone call. People actually like to help others – it makes them feel valuable. The most flattering thing anyone can say to me is, ‘Sid, what do you think?’”

Sid comments that, “The structure of the networking at the EN event was at a level that can only be described as A-grade supercharged networking for incredibly valuable social capital.”  As such, there were no doubt new contacts created for many of those who attended the event, and many will have someone to turn to for guidance in the future.

The benefits work across the board. A seasoned, experienced business figure and entrepreneur, Sid himself gained from the event, commenting that, “It was a growth experience for me as well, as it was somewhat challenging to dispense valid advice on the spot. But these are the things that challenge us to make us better businesspeople.” 

If you’ve started your own business and see the value of being supported by other businesspeople, EN may just be the right fit for you.
Visit the EN website.

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

• To advertise in the Cape Jewish Chronicle and on this website – kindly contact Lynette Roodt on 021 464 6736 or email advertising@ctjc.co.za. For more information and advertising rate card click here.

• Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue.

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription for 2023. For payment info click here.

• Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Cape Jewish Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here