SA Business Integrator spoke to Sibusiso Raphekwane, Founder and Director of The Transformation Legacy.
“The organisation exists to create a new narrative of thriving small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) that grow from strength to strength, remain sustainable, and are able to create jobs and thus make a positive contribution to the economy,” Raphekwane explains. “To ensure that we achieve this, we implement enterprise and supplier development programmes that are holistic in their approach. Imparting critical business and entrepreneurial skills, our programme focuses on ensuring that business owners reach a certain level of personal mastery which would allow them to have the right mind-set to thrive as entrepreneurs. “
The Transformation Legacy is an entrepreneur development company providing impact-driven Enterprise & Supplier development (ESD) programmes and initiatives that are geared towards empowering small businesses to significantly grow their enterprises.
“We are a team of passionate experts specialising in developing and supporting SMMEs to propel their businesses to become sustainable enterprises. We do this through business mentorship and practical training programmes that are aimed at providing entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and support to build their businesses,” says Raphekwane.
“We focus on empowering entrepreneurs and ensuring the have the right skills, knowledge, tools and information required to grow their businesses into enterprises that can outlive the founder and transcend from generation to generation.”
The Transformation Legacy provide services to corporate, government and small business development institutions to design and implement impact driven enterprise and supplier development initiatives that can lead to the organization meeting their objections and thus making a meaningful contribution. The contribution made towards the development and implementation of effective enterprise and supplier development programmes can effectively lead to more sustainable SMMEs. Businesses that can grow to employ people and thus lead to improved economic power which would in turn benefit all the players in the economy.
The following services are offered:
- Development and implementation of enterprise and supplier development initiatives.
- Skills Development Programmes: SETA accredited NQF Level 4 Business Skills training to train and upskill unemployed individuals.
- The Transitioning Entrepreneur Programme: Reskilling of retrenched individuals aspiring to start their own businesses.
- Socio-Economic Development Programmes: mentorship and business skills training for unemployed individuals in the township and rural areas.
The Transformation Legacy’s service offering to entrepreneurs includes:
- Business mentorship and coaching
- Business skills training
- Start-up business development support programmes
- SMME Consultancy services: Creation of business plans, strategic plans and marketing plans
“We are a 100% black woman-owned and led company that also seeks to empower women by providing them with platforms to exercise their potential and expertise,” says Raphekwane.
“We have over 30 years’ collective experience in enterprise development and are a Services SETA accredited training provider offering an NQF Level 4 New Venture Creation Course. We are also a COMENSA registered coaching provider.”
Tell us a bit about yourself and previous work and entrepreneurial experience
I am from a township called Temba in Hammanskraal. Throughout my childhood, I was exposed to entrepreneurship because my father ran various small businesses both on a part-time and full-time basis. When my father left employment to go into business full-time, I saw how our lives transformed and our standard of living improved.
I’ve always liked the independence and self-efficiency that comes with being an entrepreneur; so, from a very young age, I dreamt of running a successful business.
I started my first business in my second year of varsity at the age of 19. I am passionate about fashion designing and started a business designing and selling fashion-forward clothing. During that time, I was studying towards a B Com Accounting degree at the University of Pretoria. This is where my journey as an entrepreneur started. After completing my degree, I worked in the retail industry as a fashion buyer and gained immense experience. I also worked in the marketing and communications industry before finally taking the leap of faith to operate my clothing designing business on a full-time basis.
I made a lot of mistakes in the business and learned a lot in the process. I eventually got so frustrated with the challenges in the business; that I decided to enrol for an entrepreneurship course. The idea was to gain as much knowledge as I possibly can so that I can expand my business. I completed my Masters in Entrepreneurship from the University of Pretoria; and whilst studying for the course, one of the assignments was to develop and implement a turnaround strategy for a business in distress. In the very first business mentorship session, I realised immediately that I would like to mentor businesses.
It all started making sense; the frustration I had when I saw the high number of small businesses that closed down in my community. It was in that moment that I realised that what I really want to do is to empower people to build successful businesses. I then went on to pursue business mentorship. I started off doing this on a voluntary basis and went on to work for enterprise and supplier development organizations in business mentorship, training, programme development and at senior executive level, leading teams of programme managers and business mentors.
In the various roles I have held, I’ve come to realise that I am a mentor at heart – mentorship is what comes naturally to me. I love imparting knowledge to others and making people realise that they have the capability to build businesses that are sustainable and can leave a legacy that they can be proud of as entrepreneurs.
I am passionate about transforming lives and seeing entrepreneurs really use their strengths, talents and capabilities to achieve their dreams. My goal is to significantly contribute to building successful entrepreneurs, particularly those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and to get to a stage where the majority of small businesses succeed, thrive and make a positive impact to the growth of our economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent.
I would love to see businesses started in the township or rural areas growing, thriving, evolving and ultimately existing for 50 years and beyond; thus, inspiring individuals from the same background that it is indeed possible to build a legacy business when you have the right skills, knowledge and tools.
I live by the motto ‘’be the change you want to see in the world, by Mahatma Ghandi’’ – this is my key driver on a daily basis; to lead the transformation that I want to experience in our society.
What is your career background and your role at the Transformation Legacy?
I started The Transformation Legacy in 2017, with a clear goal to make a significant impact to the success of entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds through effective enterprise and supplier development initiatives that ultimately lead to making a lasting difference in the entrepreneurs’ businesses. The vision of the company is to be a leader and game changer in the mentorship and development of entrepreneurs by implementing initiatives that lead to growth and sustainability of small businesses.
We live with the sad reality that the majority of small businesses fail within the first few years of operation. In most cases, this is due to a lack of business management skills, general understanding of how to grow a business and not much experience in how to operate and grow within an industry. All of these can be mitigated through the interventions that we offer; there is no reason businesses should fail if you have the necessary skills, knowledge and tools.
I am the founder and CEO of the company and my role involves the development of impact-driven mentorship programmes resulting in sustained business growth for entrepreneurs; providing leadership to the team; overseeing the alignment of operational activities with company vision and strategic objectives; development of entrepreneur development frameworks and content; and business development and client relationship management.
I am passionate about mentorship and coaching and still mentor a small pool of entrepreneurs. I also do this to ensure I always understand the challenges that entrepreneurs face and really love to be part of the development process.
What are your long-term goals for The Transformation Legacy?
We have a head office in Johannesburg and a satellite office in Cape Town. To date, we have worked in Gauteng, Western Cape and Free State. Our plan is to extend our work across all provinces in the country and then expand to the rest of Africa, starting with five countries in the next 10 years.
We are also in the process of launching an entrepreneurship academy which will offer practical and experiential entrepreneurship education. The objective is to influence young people to select entrepreneurship as a feasible career choice.
We see ourselves becoming a leader and significantly achieving directional influence in the enterprise development sector. Our organization seeks to be known for leading change in the SMME development market.
What, in your opinion, are the biggest benefits of partnering with The Transformation Legacy?
We are passionate about the work we do and genuinely want to see our clients succeed. Clients can trust us because we become an extension of their organization and see their problems and challenges as our own. We therefore go the extra mile because we know that their success is our success and their failures become our failures. It is therefore important to give our very best in every single thing we do because we want to see our clients succeed.
Clients should partner with us because our services are personalised and customised to meet their needs. We are a growing team; this makes us very agile and flexible. This is very important when operating in a market with ever-evolving needs and demands.
Our interventions are impact driven and this is supported by robust monitoring and evaluation tools, and processes which we implement for all the clients we have on board.
We are known by our clients as thorough, professional, passionate, compassionate, efficient, transparent and highly involved. We are truly invested in the work we do and constantly strive for excellence.
How big a role does The Transformation Legacy play in the development of SMMEs, and how can that impact future economic growth?
The future of our economy highly depends on the success of small businesses. This was further reiterated in the State of the Nation speech delivery this year. Our country needs thriving small businesses to grow our economy sustainably.
There have also been many jobs that were lost over the past few years and unfortunately the labour market cannot absorb all the individuals that are unemployed currently. We need individuals to start their own businesses to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves.
However, it is not good enough for people to just start businesses; we need those businesses to grow, thrive and become sustainable. This is what will create sustainable economic growth. This is where we come in as The Transformation Legacy; we exist to empower entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses into sustainable enterprises that can make a positive contribution to the economy of our country. Our work has an invaluable impact on the future of our country’s economy.
What are the main challenges facing entrepreneurs in today’s economy, and what future plans does The Transformation Legacy have to overcome those obstacles?
Entrepreneurs are currently fighting for the right to exist in the market. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on many small businesses and highlighted the importance of building a business for future sustainability.
The nature of business has changed and there is a need for flexibility and the ability to diversify services or products in line with market demand. The challenge for many entrepreneurs is how to adapt to these market changes with minimal and sometimes non-existent resources to do so, and at times just not knowing how to operate a business during times of uncertainty and adversity.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we wanted to assist entrepreneur to navigate their way through uncertainty, so we launched bi-weekly webinar sessions where we host a panel of subject matter experts to share their insights on various topics, from managing cash flow, generating sales, digital marketing, and people management etc. These sessions have continued, and we are proud to have reached many entrepreneurs who would not ordinarily have access to this critical information. The webinar sessions are free to the public and this is our contribution to ensuring that entrepreneurs have the knowledge required to mitigate obstacles and thus continue building their businesses to become sustainable.
We have also seen the importance of being able to evolve service offerings and be able to operate comfortably in the digital space. We launched a digital presence intervention which now forms part of our enterprise and supplier development programme. The aim is to assist entrepreneurs to significantly improve their presence online, which is where business now takes place.
Over and above this, it is important for entrepreneurs to have automated business processes and optimize technology to enhance their business offering. At this stage we are exploring how we can integrate this effectively in our development programmes.
What has been the impact of COVID-19 on The Transformation Legacy with regards to its pre-and post-pandemic plans?
The COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted some important lessons for us. The ability to adapt and evolve in line with market demands has been a big lesson. We were able to adapt by facilitating our training and mentorship online and found ways to still achieve impact without the in-person interactions.
We have also seen a shift in the mindset of many entrepreneurs and corporate companies and most businesses have an appreciation of sustainability, financial prudency and stability. Corporate companies have really done amazingly well during the pandemic by extending their assistance and wanting to further contribute to the survival of small businesses. Whilst small businesses have shown an appreciation of the need to build a business for sustainability. All this has cemented the importance of the work we do and the interventions we offer, and reassured us that our work plays a significant role in the economy.
What support do The Transformation Legacy provide to SMME’s? And what would the criteria be to apply?
We provide the following support for SMMEs:
- Business Mentorship and coaching
- Business Skills Training
- Business Diagnosis & Assessments
- SMME business consultancy:
- Business Plan Development
- Business Strategy Development
- Business Processes Development
- Marketing Strategy Development
Gaining access to our services is very easy; SMMEs can book a session with us so we can assess their businesses and see the type of support they need. They can do this through various platforms; our website and Facebook page, where they book a session with us directly from the page, and they can also contact us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 010 023 0508.
We also have free resources that SMMEs can access on our website, all they need to do is visit our website at www.transformationlegacy.com, access the ‘resources’ page, register and get free tools and information they can use to grow their businesses.
We also run free webinar sessions on a bi-weekly basis, every second and last Friday of the month from 10:00 to 11:30. Our social media platforms have more information on the webinar events.
What would the best advice be that The Transformation Legacy can provide to start-up SMME’s?
Starting a business can be very daunting as there are so many factors that an SMME needs to take into consideration, however, success is not impossible. It is important to first establish why you are starting the business, what the purpose of the intention is and what the vision of the company is. Once you are able to define these three aspects, it gives you better clarity on how to go about building your business, getting your product or service to your customers and building a business model that leads to the achievement of profitability.
It is also important for SMMEs to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills they need to grow their businesses. Most entrepreneurs start businesses with no business management acumen or background, this leads to missing very important steps when building their respective operations. SMMEs need to identify a business mentor and coach to assist them to navigate the early stages of their business and attend the relevant business skills training which will equip them to navigate the complex world of entrepreneurship.
How do big corporates get involved and what benefits do The Transformation Legacy offer to these corporates?
Corporates can come onboard by contacting us for a free assessment on their current Enterprise and Supplier Development initiatives, which is the first step we take prior to developing impact-driven initiatives leading to the achievement of the organization’s objectives. Organizations can also sponsor some of the SMME development initiatives we facilitate.
The benefits of working with us is that we have a hands-on approach to the implementation of Enterprise and Supplier Development initiatives. We have extensive experience in enterprise development and absolutely love what we do, which leads to us going the extra mile. We become a partner and are highly invested in corporates achieving their Enterprise and Supplier Development objectives.
We believe in our initiatives leading to impact; therefore we have great monitoring and evaluation tools which help us track the performance of SMMEs that take part in our initiatives.
We have free resources on our website for corporate companies as well, so if companies visit our website they will have access to these resources when they register.
The Transformation Legacy has a unique offering. They are committed to making a meaningful impact in the businesses that they grow. Their services extend beyond just being an ESD service provider as they grow businesses, thereby creating socio-economic impact. ~Fiona Ally| Group Lead: Enterprise & Supplier Development| Momentum Metropolitan Holdings
Through the TTL ESD programme, I have learned to think outside the box and not to become a one-man show by directing my time to work on my business and not in my business. Some of the lessons I have implemented in my business are; strategic thinking, continuous review of financial performance, cash flow and doing proper budgeting. ~ Jubi Nkumane| Managing Director| Jubzin Security Services
I am excited that the programme speaks directly to my business needs and not a one-size-fits all approach. I have attended various business development programmes, and this is one of the best. A bonus for me is to deal with people who are open minded, accommodative and understand my thinking regarding the direction I want to take to grow my business. ~Bongiwe Monakedi| Founding Member| Monabo Hygiene Services
The biggest mind set shift for me, was that it’s not only about the bottom line! The programme has taught me the importance of strategy and analysing and reviewing every component of my business.~Nthateng Seleka| Director| Octavian Group
This programme is by far one of the best enterprise development programmes that we have gone through as a business. The main reason being that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution but was designed to address our areas of concern and development needs. As such we believe that we have been given the necessary tools which we can use to turn around our business into a global successful organization. We would recommend this program to anyone who would like to take their business to the next level.~ Pitsi Mnisi| Director| Lynshpin Cedar
The impact of COVID-19 – lockdown regulations, the ups and downs of sales, staff leaving, cash sometimes diminishing – this programme has given us some sense of normality in these uncertain times, and we are eternally grateful for that. We have had to change our business model, and so the impact of that has been taxing to me personally, but with the support we get from The Transformation Legacy, we managed to get back on our feet and fight the good fight. Not only professional but also very patient, we are extremely appreciative of the support structure we receive – my mentor is a legend. – Thato Mohono|Director|Mah Quests Enterprises.
The Transformation Legacy is the epitome of Black excellence, I am honoured and proud to be part of their programme. – Mamela Luthuli|Director|Take Note Information Technology.
The Transformation Legacy is very professional and prompt when they say they will do stuff. Overall, as a business owner, I have become a lot better at the business side of the business, whereas I used to just be technical. We believe the business we are building now is a lot more sustainable than what we had when we started. – Nicholas Nyamhondoro| Director| Alpha Innovate
With the help of this programme, as Alpha Innovate, we have managed to have our business fully compliant, put systems in place to handle our finances, HR and marketing endeavours. The service we received from The Transformation Legacy is beyond excellent with the organisation going over and above to ensure that we received the best in terms of interventions. Edmond Sebetseba|Director|Alpha Innovate
The programme is worth all the time and effort. It feels like a practical MBA. Thank you to The Transformation Legacy. – Bashi Makhafola| Director| TIC IT Telecoms
T : +27 (0)10 023 050