Since December 2012, ATE has supported 64 Small Business Owners (SBOs) through the BizATE small business development programme with 8 new small businesses owners selected to join the programme every 6 months.
ATE works with people with skills and motivation who just need a helping hand to get their small enterprise off the ground. By increasing their incomes, small business owners can then successfully and sustainably support themselves and their families.
ATE selects small business owners in need of assistance from some of the poorest parts of the community via a supported application process (assisted by trained volunteer consultants due to the very low rates of literacy). A relationship of trust and honesty is built between ATE and the small business owner from the very start and nurtured through the process.
ATE works with a wide range of small businesses, from seamstresses and weavers, to electrician and carpenters. Each small business owner is paired with an ATE consultant who can provide essential business advice and establish an important relationship right from the beginning. The SBO and their consultant meet monthly for the first year, providing the business owner with access to continued support as their business grows and allowing use to monitor the success of their enterprises. Our evaluation of the BizATE programme in January 2016 showed that 86% of SBOs are making an ongoing profit after just six months, which is fantastic progress and a testament to the hard work of each SBO.
After the first year, each SBO is invited to attend biannual workshops, which look to provide further business development skills. However, these workshops also provide an important forum for small business owners from a range of enterprises to come together and share their experiences, allowing them to provide insight on shared issues or concerns. The ongoing relationship between the small business owners and ATE is so important to the success of small businesses going on to thrive in their local community, providing a valuable boost to the local economy.
We are proud of all the work our small business owners and ATE consultants do and look forward to their continued success and hope to continue expanding the BizATE programme.