Tag Archives: enterprise

How I Spent My 67 Minutes in Honour of Nelson Mandela.

I’m a firm believer in people doing best, if they work for themselves rather than accept handouts. I therefore support SMME job creation as one of the tools to removing poverty in rural areas of South Africa. However, many of those in poverty in South Africa need information to support them in starting their own business – that’s why I run this website. I hope people working with those in poverty are able to use this information to assist.

For Nelson Mandela’s birthday I have spent my 67 minutes putting this free spreadsheet online.


(click the image to use spreadsheet)

The spreadsheet can be run by anyone by clicking on the image above or using the link http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AqVCDdQFhqhwdGI3ZVM1RUVKVzNXUlprSXE5ampPZVE&hl=en and I also provide it free to anyone who emails me here.

The spreadsheet is easy to use and could therefore also be used by any potential entrepreneur able to access the INTERNET.


Enterprise Costing Web2.0

The second way I think we can use Web 2.0 to develop food processing enterprises in Africa (see post on first tool) is to use cloud based spreadsheets to support some of the mechanical parts of enterprise management.

The first of these I offer is Version 1 of an enterprise calculator.

DavesEnterpriseCalculator - Google Docs-3.jpg

spreadsheet by Dave Harcourt
(Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)


At present if you click on the image above you will be taken to the calculator and will be able to use it. You will probably need to have a Google account to this, but is free and easy to do if you don’t have one. There is also a window that allows you to send a comment on the spreadsheet, so its a tool for developing spreadsheets.

Its possible that this will not be practical – too many people fiddling – in which case I will make it view only so that you will need to email me here to get either an offline copy or to set up your own online Google spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet was originally written for organisations wanting to give their extension officers the ability to pass the calculator on to entrepreneurs to allow them to cost their businesses. Its for this reason that their are lists of cost items that are used to construct the costing. This helps the entrepreneur to be sure he has added all necessary costs. The data here (the grey areas in the spreadsheet) is therefore set up for use in costing related businesses.

Establishing Businesses by Donating the Means of Production

I have come across three similar business models being talked about in agribusiness related development in the last few weeks. I talk about them here but don’t claim to cover there whole operation but rather the Means of Production part and am not commenting at all on their impact or outputs as I think they are very different in many respects.

Hefer International (I first heard of them some years ago) originally donated hefers (or more recently other livestock big and small) which allow the household to produce milk and to start a herd.

End World Hunger | Charity Gifts for Sustainability & Self-Reliance.jpg

Hefer International backs the donation with agricultural, nutritional and social support. The project replicates itself through the donation of offspring of the original animal by the recipient.

The Full Belly Project

Full Belly Project.jpg

donates the support to entrepreneurs to manufacture agricultural produce processing equipment. At this time the focus is on groundnuts, but this is probably because of their history.

Looking at the design and the instructions for construction of the peanut shelling machine they appear to be comprehensive and implementable.

Kick Start (previously Approtec) designs, develops and facilitates the production and marketing of small scale equipment for small agribusinesses, who buy the equipment at an affordable price which is below the price that would be required to cover all Approtec’s costs.

KickStart_ The Tools to End Poverty.jpg

Currently the technologies include oil presses, water pumps, block making machines etc. A bit like what has been going on for some time in many organisations but Kick Start aim to add to their range and seem to still be successful although similar organisations have had donor funding stopped which resulted in their closure.

So effectively the entrepreneur receives Means of Production at a subsidised cost and Kick Start need to source donor funds to carry out their role.

It seems to me that while economically sustainable enterprises are the end goal this approach of finding a way to get enterprises going through the donation of the means of production is a clever approach that puts value on the donors input and therefore protects it.

I would really be interested to hear from those who know these organisations and also of what you think of my feeling that this may be an approach that could be more widely used. You can simply submit your ideas by using the comment form at the end of the blog or by clicking comment in the blog heading if you are browsing all blogs.

Biofuels & the Bottom of the Pyramid

Having recently spent lot of time scouring the INTERNET I have been struck by the focus that there is now on two issues that impact on development in Africa – Biofuels and BOP enterprise models.


As Europe and the USA see the effect expanding refining is having on their agriculture and understand the overall efficiencies there seems to be a move towards looking at sourcing inputs from countries with more tropical climates where higher agricultural production efficiencies are possible. This in turn means that land, hopefully not that currently used for feeding ourselves, is cultivated – possibly clearing forests (palm oil), risking the spread of alien species (jatropha) or using other resources (eg sugar irrigation) on behalf of those countries who can’t achieve efficiencies make production economically sustainable.


Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) is an approach/model based on a view advanced by CJ Prahad that the 4 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day, are ignored by multinationals, although in sum they represent a large market. He, therefore, promoted the opportunity offered by this market, improving the supply to the poor and spinning off other opportunities through the supply chain.

Google Image Result for http___images.pearsoned-ema.com_jpeg_large_9780131877290.jpg.jpg

Others have challenged this approach questioning whether the market is large enough to interest multinationals and proposing instead that efforts at alleviating poverty should be based on establishing business in or partnerships with enterprises at he bottom of the pyramid.

Both of these of course impact on food processing, in particular when considering it as a development tool for Africa. I will therefore blog on them as much as personal learning (BOP) and staying abreast excercises at www.agribusiness.wordpress.com and maybe http://digivu2nd.blogspot.com/

I would be very interested to get your ideas, concerns and feedback on these issues.