LISTEN | Midwifing the journey from jobless to entrepreneur


Yamkela Nkomo, the founder and managing director of Yam Business Solutions, opened her company in 2017, prompted by the huge number of graduates who were jobless, with little chance of finding a decent job in the formal sector.

“Big companies were hiring, but they wanted people with tertiary pass rates in the upper 60s, which knocked those with lesser pass rates out of the game.

"So I decided to do something about it."

And Yam Business Solutions was born.

The company, with offices in East London, initially focused on setting up entrepreneurs.

“Provided they had an idea for a product or a service we can help them.

"We provide a strategy for the journey from jobless to embryonic entrepreneur.”

"The first step was transferring an idea into an identity. This involves a name and a logo, and then a full description of what it is they want to offer.

"Then, they need an email address, a phone, an address, a letterhead and an entry-level website."

Next comes a marketing plan, backed up with a plan detailing the activities that will lead up to the big moment: that first order.

“We enable them to register their company or organisation, and we assist them with a name.

"We ensure they have everything in place to secure funding, which for most start-ups is essential, because a lack of early money often heralds closure within months.”

Parallel to all this, Nkomo brings her mentees into the business world by providing the first legal steps.

She said the bare minimum for a new business is strict adherence to the basic requirements necessary to stay legal.

Starting a new venture is exciting. When it succeeds and grows, it is incredibly rewarding

“It’s fine to have a great plan, but once a business is opened the daily maintenance of compulsory monthly and annual reports kicks in.”

Among these  tasks are: bookkeeping, profit and loss accounts, value added tax returns (if the new venture is VAT-registered), Companies and Intellectual Property Commission annual returns, year-end financial statements, tax clearance, salaries and wages, and owner draws.

“Over the time that we have been open we have added secretarial, payroll administration, online solutions, advice on IT, updated business plans, long-term planning and ongoing market analysis,” said Nkomo.

“Some start-ups go the black economic empowerment route and need advice on registration and maintenance aspects.

“Starting a new venture is exciting. When it succeeds and grows, it is incredibly rewarding.

"But non-observance of the rules of the business game can be fatal.

"One of these pitfalls that trip up many new entrepreneurs is confusing turnover with profit.

"Another is not having the funds to cover the cash demands.”

Yam Business Solutions has its own growth strategy worked out. It wants to expand the business by opening branches in targeted areas, and eventually become a national player.



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