Phaphama SEDI is a non-profit organisation that was started in 2014 by a small group of dynamic UCT students. The aim of Phaphama was to increase the entrepreneurial capacity of small businesses in the Khayelitsha and Philippi area by connecting them with a consulting team of senior UCT students.
Each entrepreneur is teamed for the entirety of the programme with three student consultants. These groups, comprising of diverse academic backgrounds and skill sets, mean that each business owner will receive consistent and specialised attention throughout the year, in addition to the overarching skills-building training they will receive in the module workshops.
In 2014, Phaphama began work with 7 entrepreneurs from Khayelitsha. Over the years we have developed and in 2019 we began the year working with 30 entrepreneurs from Khayelitsha, Philippi, Lange and Belhar.
To date we have worked with over 100 small to medium enterprises and over 300 student consultants. In doing so, we labour tirelessly to make success a reality for our entrepreneurs, at the same time we seek to equip our consultants with practical skills. We want student consultants to experience what it is like to work with the local business community.
Phaphama SEDI’s business development programme was designed according to six key principles, agreed upon at early strategy meetings and used as a reference point for curriculum-related discussions throughout the year. We are confident that a thorough application of these principles has resulted in a curriculum which systematically adds value for consultants and entrepreneurs while giving future executive members the freedom to build and shift the curriculum as new challenges, feedback and trends in the informal economy arise. The following explanatory statements are taken directly from our 2018 Curriculum Development Portfolio Statement of General Approach.
- Inclusivity: Designing a curriculum that can assist any committed entrepreneur, understanding and accounting for different personal histories, backgrounds, identity etc.
- Malleability: Avoiding a “textbook-style”, rigid curriculum that isn’t applicable to all industries, locations and people. It also needs to encourage entrepreneurs and consultants to shift according to trends and shocks, while encouraging the consultants to think beyond frameworks.
- Collaborative: Encouraging collaboration between consultants, entrepreneurs, community & industry leaders. Avoid “lecturing.”
Exciting: Presenting this curriculum as an exciting, innovative knowledge base for future entrepreneurs and consultants. For example, framing record-keeping as a portal for data analysis and subsequent growth rather than a “business studies” requirement.
- Well-Researched: The final model must be data-backed and vigorously researched, utilising existing publications and expertise such as the Standard Bank SME handbook, previous Phaphama curriculums, McKinsey/BCG frameworks, Street Labs and Bertha Centre.
- Personal: create an overarching scheme that encourages entrepreneurs and consultants to push themselves, while forming lasting relationships. Establishing value systems, involvement in the community; going above and beyond finances.