Meet Treppie: MEDO on the move
The MEDO mobile entrepreneur incubator, also known as ‘Treppie’, is one of MEDO’s flagship touring programmes. On the face it is a truck fitted with ten computer workstations, internet access and a small meeting area outside. Climbing deeper into the mechanics of the machine, it is the first point of contact between MEDO and entrepreneurs in rural and peri-urban areas.
Images (from left):
Inside Treppie, HRH Prince Charles visits Treppie, Outside Treppie we have a small conference area, Treppie from the outside.
Nolu Tutani, MEDO project manager furthers, “The goal is to engage with the community and encourage entrepreneurship.” This programme has also produces two extremely successful entrepreneurs, Jeffrey Mulaudzi from Alexandra and Josias Motsoeneng from Middelburg who also continued to represent South Africa at MEDO ITP tours in the UK.
Treppie operates on the basis that anyone who has a business is allowed to use the computers in order to apply for MEDO programmes, such as Business Skills Foundations, Supplier Development, and of course International Trade programmes. Each person is also given basic training in computer skills and an email address. Should entrepreneurs not be chosen for any flag ship programmes run at MEDO offices, Treppie hosts a variety of mini-workshops in business skills. These workshops are held either outside the truck or at a local community centre should numbers warrant it.
Often visitors to Treppie aren’t entrepreneurs in the true sense of the word, but rather people with budding ideas needing direction to start a business. These would-be entrepreneurs are then invited to attend the “Idea to Business” full day workshop.
With a couple of years’ good service underneath its belt, Treppie has completed successful workshop tours in Durban, Cape Town, Port-Elizabeth, the Northwest Province, Mpumalanga and Gauteng without showing any signs of slowing down. After all, everyone, no matter their location deserves the opportunity to become enterprising.
Read more about successful entrepreneurs stemming from Treppie:
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The Socio Economic Development Organisation (SEDO), the sister company of MEDO, was established in 2012. Operating as an NGO, SEDO aims to assist the hundreds of people who approach MEDO for assistance, but have not yet started a business.
“When people come to us for support, either during our Treppie tours or via the website, we don’t send anyone away,” says SEDO Programme Manager, René Truter. “By establishing SEDO, we are able to use Socio Economic Development (SED) funding to get people on the right track to starting their own businesses.”
When a region has been earmarked for non-financial support, Treppie, the Mobile Entrepreneurship Centre travels to that area to recruit entrepreneurs. The local media are engaged to create hype around the tour and entrepreneurs are invited to come and apply for the Foundation Programme or the Supplier Development Programme.
“Treppie tours allow us to gauge the level of entrepreneurship in a community and identify the kinds of interventions needed for small businesses to grow, as well as for potential entrepreneurs to realise their fill potential,” René explains.
Those who do not have a business yet, but express interest are put through a business planning workshop. By the end, they should have identified opportunities within their broader communities, and have an idea of the steps they will follow to get the business up and running.
“There are so many good ideas out there and we aim to coax these entrepreneurs to take that leap into turning those ideas into a business. By doing that, we are building the economy, one job at a time.”