New hub a boost for small businesses in Stellenbosch

Small businesses will now be given the opportunity to set up shop at the Economic Hub which opened at the end of July.

Stellenbosch University (SU) has partnered with the organisation Ranyaka to assist with the development of small businesses in the greater Stellenbosch area.

The partnership will see the opening of the Economic Hub, a space that will provide local entrepreneurs with access to various tools and types of support to help grow their businesses. The Economic Hub, a space in which to co-create, is the first of its kind in Stellenbosch and is located at 7 Victoria Street, a historic building that once housed a clinic. The hub opened its doors during the last week of July.

The Economic Hub is the latest in a series of entrepreneurial initiatives for which SU has partnered with Ranyaka over the past few years.

Ranyaka, a non-profit urban planning consultancy, collaborates with residents, faith-based institutions, businesses, government, academic institutions, and other entities to create places where people can prosper through economic development and growth.

According to Dr Leslie van Rooi, senior director of Social Impact and Transformation, SU did not hesitate to pledge its support to the project when Ranyaka approached it to invest in the establishment of an entrepreneurship hub. Among others, SU has made a financial donation towards the revamp of the Victoria Street building.

“SU responded as the hub will focus on investing in entrepreneurs and small businesses on various levels in the greater Stellenbosch. The old clinic, now the Ranyaka Hub, is on the doorstep of the Stellenbosch campus, and as such SU, like other partners, responded to a request to help with the refurbishment of the building that indeed leads to the establishment of the hub,” says Dr Van Rooi.

Marli Goussard, enterprise development consultant at Ranyaka, says the Economic Hub is one of 10 programmes they are implementing in communities who need upliftment through entrepreneurship assistance. “Many small businesses have the talent and products to showcase their businesses outside their current trading areas, but lack the financial resources to rent a commercial space,” Ms Goussard says.

“Ranyaka can assist by providing them with a hub to work from until their businesses are successful enough to operate independently.”

Some of the entrepreneurs who will showcase their products at the hub will include fashion designers, artists, beauticians, barbers, and bakers – all local to Stellenbosch. Therefore, staff and students can look forward to seeing some familiar faces.

Besides a space to do business from, Ms Goussard says, entrepreneurs will also have access to laptops and wi-fi to operate successfully. Entrepreneurs setting up shop at the Economic Hub will not be charged rent either.

“Small businesses are an important part of the country’s economy because they can provide employment to others. This project provides a platform to restore people’s dignity through employment,” says Ms Goussard.

For more information on the Economic Hub or to enquire about the possibility of selling your products or offering your services at the Hub, visit www.cocreatehub.co.za or contact Marli Goussard on tel 084 212 2000 or email hub@ranyaka.co.za.