While the Eskom Development Foundation NPC funds a vast number of CSI programmes across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including health, education, environment, food security and social development, experience has shown that their most successful programmes in the economic development sector fall under the theme of enterprise development.
It is in this area in which they find real sustainability as their initiatives capacitate small enterprises to enable them to develop, grow and compete in the formal economy.
One such project that Eskom has funded is the Chemin East London Incubation Centre, which was launched on 26 July 2012 at the eMonti Science and Technology Park in East London.
This centre was established as a result of the success of the South African Chemical Technology Incubator in Port Elizabeth. Established in 2002, the aim of the Port Elizabeth incubator is to target downstream chemical industry in South Africa. Its primary focus is on helping to establish relatively late-stage chemical technology business. Through a network of supportive resources, technical expertise and shared business services, the incubator empowers entrepreneurs with the knowledge and experience needed to become financially viable and independent.
Such has been the success of this business incubator that it has expanded its services and established a new centre in East London. This centre will enhance the incubator’s future growth as well as reach out to the rural Eastern Cape.
The Foundation was pleased to be able to support this new development by providing funding to procure chemical products and manufacturing equipment for the incubator.
“Both these Eastern Cape incubators are shining examples of the success of business incubators and the hugely positive impact they have on surrounding communities”, said Silesh Mansingh Sales and Marketing Manager for Eskom Eastern Cape Operating Unit at the official launch.
CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, Haylene Liberty, says: “Experience in capacity building initiatives has shown us that a lack of management and business skills negatively impacts an enterprise’s ability to grow and become sustainable. Since its inception, the Foundation’s aspiration has been to make a significant and sustainable contribution to development.
“We are thrilled to be able to support initiatives like the Chemin East London Incubation Centre. We wish the centre well for the future and look forward to hearing about the success stories that are bound to flow from this initiative as the community benefits from the skills it will teach them, and grows from strength to strength,” she adds.
For more information on the Eskom Development Foundation, visit www.eskom.co.za/c/46/csi/.