The Business Skills for South Africa Foundation (BSSA) is a non-profit, educational trust established in 1994 by PwC and the National Industrial Chamber (NIC). BSSA’s primary activity is the transfer of business skills.

Background

In 1991, senior partners of PwC recognised a need to transfer useful business skills to owner-managers of SMMEs, and based on the British Skills Seminar Programme in the United Kingdom, BSSA was born. PwC approached NIC, the manufacturing sector of NAFCOC, to be the founding partner of BSSA, bringing with it an intimate knowledge of the SMME market. The BSSA Foundation was formally established as a non-profit trust early in 1994.

BSSA’s focus was initially on SMMEs that were already in business, with a belief that these existing operations would improve their operations and, in growing, create viable job opportunities. This view has been substantiated over the years, although the need to also support those wishing to start businesses of their own remains important. BSSA thus trains both start-ups and entrepreneurs aiming to grow their businesses.

Over time, new market opportunities have led to an expansion of BSSA’s clients and products, e.g. the training of professionals supporting SMMEs, such as business advisers and mentors. In addition to BSSA’s Core Programme for business owner-managers, skills transfer programmes focusing on these business advisers/mentors were developed and adapted, e.g. the Build a Better Business (BBB) programme and PROCESS (developed with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)).

A more recent development has been the request to train staff of various types of business support institutions. BSSA has also, sometimes in partnership with other institutions, developed training programmes focusing on expressed needs of SMMEs, such as tendering and franchising. The specific challenges facing SMMEs in the manufacturing sector resulted in the development of the ProNet programme for manufacturers (developed with GIZ).

Vision

To be recognised as a professional business skills training organisation contributing to the establishment of new, and the growth of existing SMMEs, especially those from historically disadvantaged communities.

Mission

To provide systematic and formal business skills training and education for the benefit and enhancement of the full range of SMMEs across all economic sectors in South Africa, and to create sustainable jobs and increase wealth through the transfer of practical business skills.