Empowering entrepreneurs and communities one computer course at a time
Over a period of six weeks, 11 small business owners and 13 community members from the Saldanha Bay area on the west coast attended a basic computer literacy course at the West Coast Business Development Centre (WCDC). The course formed part of Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative and was proudly sponsored by the Sea Harvest Foundation NPC.
Aside from learning basic computer skills, the small business owners were also taught how to create invoices and reports, as well as basic business English, while the course for the community members also focused on job readiness skills and CV writing. Many of the learners had never had an opportunity to work on a computer before.
“We are delighted that three of the community members were able to secure a job as a result of the course and the skills that it allowed them to develop,” said Welmarie Coetzee, chairperson at the WCDC and procurement manager at Sea Harvest.
One of the community members, Valencia Solomons, proudly said, “As a result of this course, I will be starting my new career as a supervisor. I now know how to do a quotation and how to set up a roster, something that I had no idea how to do before the classes started.”
Katrina (Katie) Jeremiah, business owner of Shalom Baking in Vredenburg, explained, “I worked for a corporate organisation for many years, before starting my own business. It was very frustrating having years of experience, but then when venturing out on your own, you can’t really get anywhere because you don’t know how to use a computer. I was very scared to use a computer, which made me feel ‘disabled’. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity because I am no longer afraid of a computer. Now I can work out my own quotations and do something to help my business grow. Thank you so much to everyone for making this opportunity possible.”
Regine le Roux, managing director of Reputation Matters, said, “We often need to conduct fieldwork and depending on the research assignment, we also need to manually capture data. We saw this initiative as a great opportunity to involve members of the communities in which we work.”
Registered SMMEs and community members were invited via an ad in the Weslander and a notice distributed by the WCBDC to participate in the course at no cost, other than their travelling expenses, thanks to the sponsorship from the Sea Harvest Foundation NPC.