Our History

From inception, the company positioned itself as an SAQA Accredited Training and Service provider. Our core offering was the New Venture Creation Qualification “NVC” through the Services SETA. It was our aim to assist emerging black entrepreneurs in starting new businesses.

Today, this remains our core offering built on hard earned experience and with a wide variety of clients. “NVC” has always included working with and for Sector Education and Training Authorities “SETA’s as chronicled below:

2002/3: Sub-contracted by Cornerstone Training to develop a suite of Anti-Money Laundering Training Materials.

2003: Adapted and customized the Anti-Money Laundering Materials for the Insurance Industry working with The Insurance SETA – INSETA.

2004/5: The lead provider training previously disadvantaged people to start and run their own business (New Venture Creation) on the Integrated Nature-Based Tourism and Conservation Management Development Project for The Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Education and Training Authority – THETA

2004: A lead provider for provision of programmes aligned to the Small Business Services Qualification for SME’s for the Services SETA SME Chamber.

2005/6: A lead provider for Project RAVE, a project under the Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&RSETA) to train and mentor new previously disadvantaged entrants into this sector.

Establish the extent of participation in democratic process and structures.

2008/10: As a special project and working with Massmart and the W&RSETA, development of retail businesses (New venture Creation) working from containers that were supported by Shield Cash&Carry.

2007/9: Development and training of small businesses providing services to the Forestry Industry (New Venture Creation) with the Forestry SETA – FIETA.

2009: Development and training of small businesses supporting the Mining Industry (New Venture Creation) with The Mining Qualifications Authority- MQA.

 

Letsatsi’s progressive mandate

In 2002, LHR Solutions (Pty) Limited t/a Letsatsi was incorporated as a wholly white owned business. In compliance with BEE legislation, the company was gradually transformed and today it is a 100% black owned business.

As the business developed its competency in small business development, the ownership structure also systematically changed. This was done for BEE compliance reasons and not in an opportunistic manner to maximize gains from projects. Investments were made incrementally by our shareholders for business and ideological reasons from March 2006. The business reasons for our shareholders investing in Letsatsi were to generate revenue from a sustainable and performing company. The ideological reasons are grounded in the company’s track record and competency to address the challenges identified by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), within the co-operative sector specifically.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) completed a formal baseline study in 2009 which found that 22,030 co-operatives were registered by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CPIC). It also found that only 26,444 of the co-operatives were confirmed to be operational representing a mortality rate of 88% (DTI Integrated Strategy, 2012: 38).

Letsatsi as an organization has vast experience in developing small businesses through training and business support initiatives. Letsatsi recognised the value they could add and the potential they had to make significant improvements to the co-operative sector in South Africa. The vision thereof was to extend its competence in small business development to the co-operative form. As such, a progressive mandate was developed to incorporate this.

Under this progressive mandate, the company submitted applications to both the National Skills Fund “NSF” and Services SETA under Goal 6 of the National Skills Development Strategy 111. The applications for special projects were to develop co-operative entities specifically under Goal 6, with the recipients of services being the directors and members of co-operatives, giving them the skills and means to get into business to generate their own incomes and independence. Following strict submission requirements and comprehensive evaluation of our applications, Letsatsi was appointed to deliver major co-operative development programmes for these clients.

Importantly, the initial contract awarded to Letsatsi was for capacity development and a group of Co-operative Development Facilitators were developed in all nine provinces. With appropriate methodologies, tools and materials all coupled with our experience and access to in-field capacity, Letsatsi has and is able to scale training and business support services to co-operatives nationally.

 

Enterprise in South Africa

By September 2015, 722 068 small businesses were registered in South Africa with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. Of these, 112, 768 were identified as co-operative entities thus representing the fastest growing form of business in contemporary South Africa.

All forms of small businesses and enterprises, including co-operatives, require deliberate and professional support to enable people, often starting a business for the first time, to establish and grow these entities so that they can earn a livelihood.

The high mortality rate identified by the DTI baseline study has a detrimental impact on the small enterprise sector’s ability to create employment and contribute to South Africa’s economic development. This document lists the challenges facing these enterprises as inadequate government support, incompetence in business management and members, weak market opportunities and lack of organisation and support structures.

The shortfalls around government support include a lack of adequate economic statistics, co-ordination of business opportunities, providing effective support agencies, enabling small enterprise formalisation by registration, promoting the economic form of small enterprise to public and private sectors, and allowing access to finance, technology and infrastructure (DTI Integrated Strategy, 2012: 52).

The dearth of co-operative and small enterprise organisational structures is a function of a weak Co-operative and Small Business Association in South Africa. Both the problems of government and co-operative movement support are macro in nature, occur externally to the co-operative or small enterprise, are largely out their control and are not a focus for Letsatsi.

The two other problem areas identified by the DTI Integrated Strategy (2012: 54-57) refer to lack of management competence and market opportunity which impact the immediate performance of the enterprises and can be influenced by the members themselves.

Letsatsi is structured and is able to address this latter problem specifically. Letsatsi concerns itself with offering this support and these development services to different types of small businesses. Our business is to deliver training to this market as well as support services such as viability analyses, business planning, facilitating access to finance, business mentoring and administration and financial record keeping.

 

Our Achievements and Future Plans

To date the following has been delivered to the co-operative movement in South Africa:

200 Co-operative Development Facilitators were trained on the New Venture Creation Qualification NQF4 and as Assessors NQF5 during 2011/12. A group of 188 graduated, have been certified and qualified to be deployed as facilitators and assessors on further projects.

1,000 co-operative enterprises (each having a minimum of 5 persons earning their livelihood from the entity) received training in business and technical skills and were mentored for a 36 month period (2013/15) on aspects such as business viability & planning, marketing, application for funding, measuring performance and business improvement strategies. At the end of the project, 830 co-operatives (83%) completed the programme with improved business performance. This is a significant improvement on the 88% mortality rate under normal conditions.

In 2016 a further 200 co-operatives are being supported and developed using similar methodologies within the Services SETA project.

Our work in this difficult and challenging sector is of the highest standards. On two occasions on the NSF project, Letsatsi was audited by the Auditor General with respect to managing public funds and no remedial action was deemed necessary. In addition, independent SAQA officials moderated all qualification based training to ensure we complied with national standards.

Letsatsi with its capabilities will continue to partner with our clients and the co-operative entities themselves, to deliver improvements in performance and sustainability. In doing so, employees, associates, Directors and shareholders of Letsatsi will continue to deliver services that make a significant contribution to the social and economic well-being of all South Africans.

2017/18: SERVICES SETA COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT

  • This project involved conducting a Business viability study and a plan was crafted for each cooperative addressing issues emanating from opportunity analysis.
  • 154 Cooperatives were formed and supported through various training interventions.
  • Learnership Training was conducted for the Co-operative members on New Venture Creation Level 2. Mentoring was also provided on start-up issues as well as growth issues. The project was implemented in Western Cape and Limpopo. A total of 279 learners were put through training in both Provinces. The project is ongoing until March 2020.

2018-2020: NSF RURAL DEVELOPMENT, CO-OPERATIVES & SMME DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT PROGRAMME

Currently Letsatsi is implementing the NSF Rural Development, Co-operatives & SMME development support programme until March 2020.Training is provided on three (3) interventions which are Plant Production, Construction and New Venture Creation in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North-West Provinces.

  • By 2018/19: 600 learners were trained
  • 2019/2020: 1200 learners will be trained.
  • 2019/2020: 180 learners will receive mentoring services on improving business performance.