Enterprise Development

The Clothing Bank is considered a best practice example of Enterprise Development in South Africa. We have developed a holistic Enterprise Development methodology and have experienced significant success with our programme.

The 7 stages

Recruitment

We like to recruit through referral partners (mainly other NGOs and government agencies) who have established relationships with women and refer suitable candidates to us. We ensure, through our three-stage recruitment process that we recruit the people who are self-motivated and are willing to put in the hard work needed on their journey towards financial and social independence. Beneficiaries need to be self-motivated have an aptitude for business, unemployed, mothers with dependent children and South African citizens.

Teaching Methods

Training at grassroots level is not always easy; one cannot assume that participants all have an understanding of business, nor can traditional methods be used as they are usually too abstract. Participants from poverty-stricken backgrounds often have a deep fear of learning due to past failures. Our training tools are fun and experiential, with a focus on learning through doing and meeting individuals where they are on the development journey.


Roadmap to self-employment

Work Experience

Each woman on the TCB programme is required to work in the warehouse/garment processing facility one day per week, receiving and sorting stock. We source excess product from our partnerships with most of the major clothing retailers in South Africa, who currently donate over 50 000 garments a month. Many of the women have never had a formal job, so the work experience component allows them to learn important skills and the value of teamwork.

Trading Experience

Learning happens through doing – this is what differentiates our programme from many other training programmes. We don’t believe business can be learned in a classroom, any more than one could learn to play soccer in a classroom. Within two weeks of being selected for the programme, women start running a small, informal retail business. Our business women-in-training buy garments from TCB’s warehouse (at discounted prices) and then sell them informally in their communities.

Sustainability

Our objective is to ensure that the women we empower remain financially and socially independent after leaving the programme. Through our vested interest in our graduates performance and impact, we have developed the Micro-Franchise Accelerator (MFA) with the purpose of developing micro-franchise businesses for our graduates - tried and tested, commercially-viable, small ‘business in a box’ solutions that the women can access once they have proved themselves.

Performance Management

We pride ourselves on measuring the impact made by our graduates – our vested interest in their success is what separates us from other organisations. Women are required to meet certain monthly targets, attend all their work days, training and coaching/mentoring sessions. We honour exceptional performances each month through award ceremonies.

Coaching & Mentoring

The women who join our programme are often very fragile due to their complex life stories and therefore life coaching is the first fundamental form of support we offer. We also provide our second-year business women with mentoring by experienced business people, who offer them practical advice on how to improve business. Furthermore, for women facing difficult personal problems, we have a qualified psychologist on staff.

The 7 stages

We like to recruit through referral partners (mainly other NGOs and government agencies) who have established relationships with women and refer suitable candidates to us. We ensure, through our three-stage recruitment process that we recruit the people who are self-motivated and are willing to put in the hard work needed on their journey towards financial and social independence.

Beneficiaries need to be self-motivated have an aptitude for business, unemployed, mothers with dependent children and South African citizens.

We like to recruit through referral partners (mainly other NGOs and government agencies) who have established relationships with women and refer suitable candidates to us. We ensure, through our three-stage recruitment process that we recruit the people who are self-motivated and are willing to put in the hard work needed on their journey towards financial and social independence.

Beneficiaries need to be self-motivated have an aptitude for business, unemployed, mothers with dependent children and South African citizens.

Training at grassroots level is not always easy; one cannot assume that participants all have an understanding of business, nor can traditional methods be used as they are usually too abstract. Participants from poverty-stricken backgrounds often have a deep fear of learning due to past failures. Our training tools are fun and experiential, with a focus on learning through doing and meeting individuals where they are on the development journey.

The last step in our development model is performance management. Women are required to meet certain performance standards in their businesses to test that the knowledge is being applied. If they don’t meet these standards they are provided with additional 1 on 1 support for a period of time. If there is no improvement, they have to leave the programme. This creates a sense of urgency and motivation to perform and we find that it motivates them to achieve.

Each woman on the TCB programme is required to work in the warehouse/garment processing facility one day per week, receiving and sorting stock. We source excess product from our partnerships with most of the major clothing retailers in South Africa, who currently donate over 50 000 garments a month. Many of the women have never had a formal job, so the work experience component allows them to learn important skills and the value of teamwork.

Our objective is to ensure that the women we empower remain financially and socially independent after leaving the programme. Through our vested interest in our graduates performance and impact, we have developed the Micro-Franchise Accelerator (MFA) with the purpose of developing micro-franchise businesses for our graduates - tried and tested, commercially-viable, small ‘business in a box’ solutions that the women can access once they have proved themselves.

We pride ourselves on measuring the impact made by our graduates – our vested interest in their success is what separates us from other organisations. Women are required to meet certain monthly targets, attend all their work days, training and coaching/mentoring sessions. We honour exceptional performances each month through award ceremonies.

The women who join our programme are often very fragile due to their complex life stories and therefore life coaching is the first fundamental form of support we offer. We also provide our second-year business women with mentoring by experienced business people, who offer them practical advice on how to improve business. Furthermore, for women facing difficult personal problems, we have a qualified psychologist on staff.

Roadmap to self-employment

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Potential Business Owner Emerging Business Owner Business Owner
Objective To create an entrepreneurial mindset in a safe environment To develop a deeper understanding of business and its complexities To build sustainable independent businesses
Outcomes High self belief, self employment seen as a solution. Manages money and fear well Confident business person able to see opportunities and knows what it takes to make them happen Independent business owners that have the potential to grow and employ people
Criteria Must be self motivated
Healthy mind and body
Perseverance
Willingness to change
Successfully completed phase 1
Drive to move from necessity to opportunity business owner
Successfully completed phase 2
Proven ability to run a successful business
Competency development Finance Skills – Practical record keeping and analysis tools for business and personal finance (13 workshops)
Business Skills - Practical skills that can be applied to a trading business (12 workshops)
Life Skills - focus on developing self belief and healthy minds, bodies, families (13 workshops)
Computer Skills - Microsoft ICDL including Internet, Emails, MS Word, Excel (12 Workshops)
Informal Small Business Practice (NQF Level 3) - Deeper business skills which focus on expanding business beyond TCB (9 months)
Life Skills - Reflection and goal setting for the future
Potential to invest in a Micro Franchise (MF) technical, business and franchise related training and business experience through job shadowing in a professional environment, apprenticing at current franchises OR establishing an independent business
Support Coaching (12 months)
Group Mentoring (monthly)
Counselling (Ad hoc)
Access to supply of goods
Mentoring (12 months)
Counselling (Ad hoc)
Access to supply of goods
Mentoring (12 months)
Access to MF Opportunities or supply of goods
Ongoing franchise support
The Clothing Bank