Creating tomorrow’s business legends

Legends came into existence in 2007. This initiative funded by Old Mutual currently supports over 60 organisations and 1500 individuals in all nine provinces. It offers workshops, skills training, e-learning, remote and face-to-face mentoring as well as peer support to help small and emerging businesses attain a new level of success. A two-day workshop for entrepreneurs, small businesses and community-based projects will see over 90 organisations from all nine provinces visit Cape Town toward the end of September.

Entitled ‘The Legends Magic Series’, the workshop is being presented by the Old Mutual Legends business development programme, as part of their annual curriculum for the 60 beneficiary organisations they support.

The event was originally intended for Legends beneficiaries alone. However, according to Catherine Wijnberg, Legends originator and Managing Director (Implementing) of the agency Fetola, numerous requests from organisations not involved in Legends necessitated the opening of a limited number of places for the public at the workshop.

The Legends Programme

The programme has grown by 600% since 2007, and is now one of the largest ‘virtual incubator’ enterprise development programmes in South Africa. Over 500 businesses applied to be part of the 2011 programme, of which 65 were selected based on a number of criteria including social impact and a willingness and desire to attain new levels of success.

September Workshop

The upcoming workshop, to be held on the 27th and 28th of September at the Cape Town Lodge, will see Legends beneficiaries from all corners of the country being flown in to attend.

Many of these beneficiaries are from rural areas and have never been to Cape Town before, let alone flown on a plane. “I am very excited, but quite nervous! Flying is something new for me ‑ I hope I enjoy it and do not get too scared!” says Legends beneficiary Phindile Mkhize of Zan Zans Decor in KwaZulu-Natal.

The workshop will focus on two areas of business that are, according to Wijnberg, the Achilles heel of most small businesses, namely sales and finance. The full and diverse programme has been designed to give participants maximum value over the course of two days.

“This will be an intense and thoroughly stimulating event with all sorts of challenges, learning opportunities and inspirational speakers lined up to motivate participants and keep them interested. The idea is to demystify both the sales and financial management process by providing not only knowledge, but also the tools and templates attendees will need in order to take ownership of these areas in their organisations,” adds Wijnberg.

The Business of Business

Anton Ressel, Senior Business Consultant of the Legends programme, believes that the focus on business fundamentals and competence in basics, combined with several key innovations that have allowed even the most remote rural businesses to become Legends beneficiaries, are the reason for the continued growth and success of the programme.

“We focus on what we call the ‘Business of Business’, a philosophy of doing the basics well and covering all bases involved in running a business. This approach allows Legends to work across multiple sectors such as tourism, agriculture, services and manufacturing. Our e-learning programme has also made it possible for anyone with a cellphone to participate in the programme and gain value from it,” he adds.

A few places are still available for the upcoming workshop at the end of September. There are costs involved for small business beneficiaries, but are subsidised and significant discounts are available for non-profit and community-based organisations. Participants also get to attend the pre-workshop cocktail and networking function to be held the evening before the workshop begins.

Speakers at this industry event include Crispin Sonn, Old Mutual’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Media and Marketing.

For more information, please click here, contact us at or call 021-701-7466. Megan Diener (Media Liaison) may also be contacted on 082-909-7234 or at