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While research shows that 70 of small businesses fail within 24-months of launching, Sibusiso Raphekwane, Founder and Chief Executiv% e Officer, of The Transformation Legacy, is determined to use her expertise in Entrepreneur Development to change this narrative.

As a seasoned entrepreneur development expert and business mentor with 15 years of experience in business, and 10 years in enterprise development, she strives to assist small, medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa build thriving, legacy driven businesses.

Using a unique approach to business mentorship, Raphekwane pushes the envelope by designing programmes for SMEs with a focus on transferring business skills while, integrating personal mastery. As an Ontological coach, she believes a very important component to achieving business success and longevity, lies in acquiring knowledge of self. Therefore, the outcomes of her business mentorship programmes go beyond imparting business skills but also include, building the personal value of the individual (the engine) behind the business, and assisting with navigating strengths, talents and capabilities in a way that will yield adequate business performance.

Through this unconventional approach to mentorship, coupled with Raphekwane’s unrelenting passion for assisting SMEs with the development of effective business growth strategies, The Transformation Legacy under her leadership, has successfully supported and developed a total of 230 entrepreneurs since inception, with 70% being female-led businesses. As a result, more than 80% of the businesses they have supported have grown and remain sustainable.

Similarly, some of South Africa’s corporate companies are among the beneficiaries of Raphekwane’s uniquely designed business programmes. In several written testimonials, she and her team are hailed by the likes of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings (MMH), Coface and Metropolitan Health for providing impactful and tailor-made Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) and mentorship programmes which respond to their business needs.

Equally, her experience as an Executive member of Simodisa organization and Senior Executive of Entrepreneur Development and Branch Management at SAICA Enterprise Development, has positioned her as a trusted thought-leader and solutionist who understands the pressing issues faced by SMEs.While serving as a senior executive at SAICA Enterprise Development, she developed impactful programmes that are aligned with the organisations entrepreneur development goals and designed a re-modelling strategic plan. Her tenure at Simodisa organization on the other hand, has been characterized by providing insightful advice and making strong recommendations that advocate for policies that will stimulate the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

This impeccable practical knowledge gained over the years, supported by her master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development from the University of Pretoria, made her the suitable candidate to lead research work for the Embassy of Switzerland. This project focused on investigating what a strengthened Swiss South Africa Business Development Programme, should incorporate to address the challenges entrepreneurs are facing in business. The outcome resulted in a report authored by Raphekwane which gave a full assessment of the current status of SMEs in South Africa, challenges and how technology and innovation contribute to the national SME landscape.

Her creative yet insightful approach to SME development, has also found expression on popular media platforms such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Your Business Magazine, Mail & Guardian, Financial Mail, South African Business Integrator and Destiny magazine. As an entrepreneurship advocate who has walked the journey with numerous SMEs and corporate companies, she is passionate about developing informative thought leadership articles, and hosting webinars that cover topical issues and ultimately assist SMEs navigate the road to building sustainable businesses.

When she is not busy steering The Transformation Legacy ship, she is an Advisory Board Member using her technical know-how to develop impactful strategies and implementation plans for Ekasi Entrepreneurs. The outcome of her efforts has led to the organization building a sustainable business model resulting in adequate income generation and an increased footprint. As a result, Ekasi Entrepreneurs to date, has been able to attract over 15 000 entrepreneurs who are supported through access to markets platforms, training, and mentorship programmes.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Raphekwane’s prowess and significant contribution to the South African Small Business community, was recognised by SANTAM for the Women of the Future Awards and Standard Bank Top Women Awards where The Transformation Legacy was recognised as a top empowered organisation.

As part of pioneering the enterprise development and business mentorship agenda in Africa, Raphekwane is currently working on publishing a book that will cover topics on entrepreneurship and leadership. She also has her sights set on using her gained experience and theoretical knowledge to launch a Transformation Legacy Academy for youth and establish a foundation for young boys and girls that will build a culture of self-sustainability. Passionate about the development of a township economy, she aims to play her part by making entrepreneurship education accessible to peri-urban and rural areas in an effort to champion the development of black, legacy driven businesses.