My thoughts after attending Venture 4th by Heather Cowan

Group photo

Some of our Venture 4th group 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed the Venture 4th entrepreneurial programme. From day one I was impressed by the friendly and positive outlook of all the facilitators. Everything was very well organised from the evening meals to the guest speakers as well as the theory and practical sessions held each evening.

I looked forward to hearing each guest speaker and was surprised how much knowledge and inspiration they could pack together in just 10 minutes! Each guest speaker had something new to offer since they all ran different businesses and had a new story to tell. I learnt that to have a business you must have a vision and be intentional. Your business must provide a need or want and working with the right people with the right skills is important as well as smart money management! Lastly don’t be a subsistent thinker i.e. just getting by, challenge yourself to be a visionary thinker – seeing, preparing and embracing the future.

We were also fortunate to have an entrepreneur with multiple successful businesses leading the programme and teaching the importance of developing and refining your business plan on a continuous basis. Other subjects covered were:

– Entrepreneurship, the common mistakes entrepreneurs make and how to avoid these
– The opportunity – how to identify opportunities and evaluate your ideas
– The marketing plan – what product, price, place and promotions
– The HR plan – employees pay and benefits, skills development and risk management
– The Financial plan – most important
– The Startup plan – everything to know before you start the business

The programme was so memorable because of the people who you could see were doing this to help empower others, honouring God with their skills and time. Oh and of course coffee with biscuits was great!

Venture 4th exceeded my expectations and although doing this programme does not mean you can become a successful entrepreneur overnight, what it does do is inform and motivate you to know that it is possible to ‘think beyond a job and create your own’.

By Heather Cowan

Venture 4th 2013

Certificates venture 4th

Our students were so pleased to get their certificates!

We would firstly like to say ‘Well Done” to all our students!

A big thank you to Johannes Stiefel for putting so much time and effort into writing the handbook for Venture 4th and for your expertise and knowledge. Thank you to Veronica Martelo who came to spend her summer holiday in South Africa as an Intern on this project. She presented the practical sessions with confidence and in a way that was fun and interesting. A huge thank you to each of our guest speakers for their time and expertise. Thank you to Elkanah House for providing the venue and Parklands College for sponsoring 2 students.

Our guest speakers were Richard Lindes, Jita Ndabazovuyo, Gabe Phillips, Japie Swanepoel, Angie Young. Maria van der Westhuizen, Richard Sharp and Malcolm Herbert.

Program duration: 8 sessions over 5 weeks
Dates: Tuesday and Thursday from the 30 July to 27 August 2013 from 18:00 to 20:00
Location: Elkanah House High School – Afrikaans classroom
Session Topics: Introduction, The Business Plan, The Entrepreneur, The Business Opportunity, The Marketing Plan, The HR Plan, The Operational Plan, The Financial Plan and The Start-up Plan.
Handbook: 108 pages containing the 8 session notes, Exercises and Business Plan.

On the 1st night 13 students participated, and attendance fluctuated from 9 to 11 over the duration of the program. A typical session consisted of a meal that was served between 18:00 and 18:25, in the Café area, before the start of each session. At 18:30 there was a brief introduction followed by a 10-minute session presented by one of our guest speakers on a given topic or just their story. At 18.40 Johannes would present, from the handbook, the evening session followed by a 15-minute tea break. At 19:45 Veronica would present the practical session and work together with the students until 20:30.

One the last night we presented each student with a certificate and asked him or her to comment on the programme. Here are some of those comments;

“After doing this course Ï feel like a different person when I walk down the street.” Mhlangabezi Mdludlu
“I’d like to thank each of the guest speakers for sharing their stories; we learnt so much from each one of them.” Heather Cowan
“I’ve been amazed by the information I’ve learnt on this course, as I thought I’d have to go to college to learn this, but I think I learnt more here and it was for free!” Tembakazi Sidumo

Venture 4th – Igniting opportunities for young Entrepreneurs By Zanele Dlamini

Motivation - Gabe PhillipsI recently attended a four week entrepreneurial programme called Venture 4th, and I must admit attending the programme was one of the best things I have ever done for my personal growth.
Venture Forth is a Beyond Education initiative. The focus of this initiative is on helping young people with the vision of starting their own businesses or of being self employed, to acquire the right skills and knowledge that will help them realize their dreams.

This year’s programme began on the 17th of July 2012 and it was held at Elkanah House at Sunningdale. From the very first day, the course made a huge impact in my life; I fell so in-love with it that I made it an obligation that I attended every session.

We met twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. At every session we had a successful entrepreneur who came and shared his/her experiences with us, teaching us good business techniques and motivating us, so that we may know that the road to success is never easy, there are many obstacles along the way, yet we must persevere and never give up.

During the four weeks we learnt the about :
• Sales
• Marketing and Online Marketing
• Finance
• Human Resources
• Goal Setting and Identifying opportunities.

I personally enjoyed all sessions, however Marketing stood out for me. I really liked and learnt a lot from what Gabe Phillips taught us regarding this subject and everything he said you could see that it came from the heart.

I would definitely advise everyone with a dream of becoming an entrepreneur not to miss next year’s programme. What we learnt from the Venture 4th program is what every entrepreneur must know.

Finally, I would like to give a humble word of gratitude to Beyond Education, Venture4th, and everyone who made the programme a success. A special thank you to all the speakers who came and spoke to us. I am sure there were lots of things they could have done with their time, but they chose to come share their experiences and knowledge with us. Thank you.

Written By Zanele Dlamini

Venture 4th by Godknows Ncube

Purple Cow

Purple Cow : Transform your Business by being remarkable! By Seth Godin

On Tuesday 24th July I attended one of the eight Venture 4th evenings and I would like to share some of the knowledge that I got from there.


Market research is really the heart of the business. It’s very important to closely examine the market segments and an Entrepreneur has to really know their products inside out and be passionate about it. It is also important to research the location and establishing whether you have a market for your product that area. I learned that when you start doing market research there are the few things to consider.

• How much will the product cost
• Retailer mark-ups
• Are you going to have any discount

• The quality of the product. How will you maintain it?
• Models and sizes
• Packaging
• Are you going to sell a service?

• How are you going to advertise your product or service?

• Channels of distribution
• Outlet location- is it close to your target market?
• Warehousing – Are you going to need any need any storage?

Social Media

This is a very important tool that business entrepreneurs must consider. It has the power to make a business successful considering that its managed correctly. The Internet also offers the perfect public platform for everyone to share their opinions and ideas. Today, online media is one of the top news sources and has many representations, such as forums, blogs, image galleries and video portals. There is a wide variety of social media, ranging from social sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr through social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Ways to use a Social Media in a business.
• Listen to what your customer needs.
• Survey
• Tell the customers more about your service or product.

I learned many things in this session and would like to thank Beyond Education for organising this program. If you would like to know a little bit more about these sessions, you can follow their Facebook page Venture 4th.

Written by Godknows Ncube

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