South Africa’s Payfast Launches New Initiative to Upskill Aspiring Business Owners


South African online payment gateway firm PayFast has launched a 12-week development programme with Heavy Chef’s entrepreneur education non-profit – the Heavy Chef Foundation. The new initiative is designed to empower aspiring business owners with the skills needed to set up their own e-commerce stores.

According to Heavy Chef, more than 42% of emerging South African entrepreneurs do not know how to set up an online shop. PayFast is seeking to address this lack of knowledge by kickstarting the programme.

“E-commerce makes entrepreneurship accessible to more people. You don’t need to rent out a brick-and-mortar storefront or set up a market stand to start a business anymore. All you really need is access to the internet, a solid idea, and a good understanding of what customers expect from online stores. With this mentorship programme, we hope to provide the basic ingredients for success,” says Byron Clarence, Business Developer Manager at PayFast.

A New 12-Week Development Programme

Three cohorts of 10 entrepreneurs each, will take part in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and Elardus Park, Pretoria, as well as via virtual classes. By the time participants graduate in August, each team will have created their own ‘Recipe Book’ on the subject of online shops.

This will be developed during weekly workshop sessions, with the help of e-commerce experts, who will share their insights and act as programme mentors. Topics to be covered include choosing an e-commerce platform, making transactions, delivering products, managing customers, and more.

“This learning model is tailored to the context of our programme attendees, enabling them to direct their own learning and empower each other as a group. After all, entrepreneurs teaching entrepreneurs – that’s where the impact is made,” says Louis Janse van Rensburg, CEO at the Heavy Chef Foundation, the non-profit arm of Heavy Chef.

Entrepreneurs will also have access to useful resources, including cash vouchers, equipment, data, access to co-working spaces, mental health support, and Heavy Chef guidebooks.

“Just like any business, success is all about having access to the right tools. By providing both knowledge and resources, we’re creating a sustainable approach to learning and empowerment,” says Clarence, who is also participating as one of the programme mentors.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with an organisation like PayFast, which is renowned for its incredible support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They’ve had the foresight to support a programme that aims to innovate and deliver learning, in a hyper contextual and personalised way, to ensure the next generation of business owners can make a success out of their ideas,” says Janse van Rensburg.

Edited by Luis Monzon
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