New inner city hub for entrepreneurs

Kerisha Govender, Lerato Maphathe Ntongoa, Lucky Motsamai, Ntswaki Mphana and Zanda Twala. PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

Entrepreneurs with limited resources can now visit the Future Talent Lab at Bloem Plaza, which is a hub for them to conduct the business without having to pay for office space.

What was formerly known as the Hopspot, the Future Talent Lab is now open to all students and even children may be left there while their parents are shopping. And it’s free of charge.

“We were looking at how we could best benefit our shoppers because they keep us in business. This is our way of giving back and empowering our community. Considering that the LSM of our shoppers is between 1 and 8, we thought the best way to give back to our shoppers would be through education and also by motivating business development.

The main idea behind the centre is for it to be a safe haven for toddlers whose parents are doing their shopping here,” said Zanda Twala, Bloem Plaza Marketing Manager.

The lab will be open from 09:00 until 14:00 for entrepreneurs, and from 14:00 until 16:30 for students. Unemployed youth can also use the facilities to look for jobs and type their CVs.

“We are opening it up for young entrepreneurs. We discovered that in Bloemfontein there is a need for some assistance for our young entrepreneurs in that they do not have office space to meet and discuss business and some of them do not have access to computers and the internet. In the afternoon the centre is going to be open for students who can come and do their assignments and research using our facilities,” said Twala.

Ward 17 Councillor, Lerato Maphathe Nthongoa, encouraged the community to make use of this facility, while Lucky Motsamai, Chief Executive Officer at Free State Black Business Chamber encouraged the youth to spend the time they would be hanging out at the mall to improve their lives, using the resources at the lab.

Parents doing their shopping can leave their children, who have to be five years and above, at the hub from 14:00 until 16:30 during the week, and from 09:00 until 13:00. “They will be leaving them in the capable hands of Ntswaki Mphana.

We did a security check during the interview process and she passed all the checks. She has also worked at a preschool before. When parents leave their kids here, they will sign in using their IDs and when they pick them up they will have to present them again,” added Twala.

Seithati Semenokane