Barons accelerate their small business

Anusca and her mother Rene Baron from Hanover Park, grew their small business, thanks to an accelerator programme.

Hanover Park mother and daughter Rene and Anusca Baron, are an example of how a business accelerator programme can help to grow a small business.

Mother Rene is a jeweller while daughter Anusca is a fashion designer. Together they are Baron Design House, a clothing, fashion accessories and jewellery brand.

They have grown a sustainable business despite the negative economic impact of the pandemic and shown it is possible to create employment for others within their own hard-hit community, by tapping into local support being offered to clothing and textile small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs)

The demand for the Barons’ services and products has seen them grow their home-based business beyond just the two of them. Through the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator, which got under way earlier this year, Baron Design House has taken on a young female student who is part of a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) learnership, in order to take the next step in their business, while helping the young woman develop market-ready skills.

The Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator is focused on creating employment opportunities for youth and women in the clothing and textile industry in Cape Town. The project is made possible thanks to the National Skills Fund in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, and is implemented by the Craft and Design Institute (CDI). Currently there are 23 businesses which are benefiting from the accelerator project. The aim is to support up to 60 SMMEs to participate in the project and the goal is to train 200 machinists for the sector in total. Applications are currently open until Tuesday October 21.

The City of Cape Town’s Enterprise and Investment Department funds strategic business partners, such as the CDI, in high-growth sectors to secure the skills pipelines businesses need to succeed.

According to the City’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos: “SMMEs will be able to create a job profile to suit their individual business needs and recruit participants from the learnerships with little cost to the business. Thanks to tax rebates and incentives, a business can reduce the cost even further.”

The programme subsidises most of the costs for the SMME and is designed to offer a 12-month learnership, with a view to the SMMEs employing the women at the end of the project.

“This is not just a skills development project,” said Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI, “we are also placing emphasis on the development of the business and its capacity to not only host trainees but hopefully absorb them after the learnership is completed – we are aiming to grow the participating business for long-term sustainability.”

Small businesses active in clothing, textiles, leather goods and footwear, and which are on the verge of increasing their production capacity, are encouraged to apply for support.

Applications, which close on Tuesday October 21, can be made via