Theory of Change

Overall Summary of findings

The evaluation demonstrated that Seeds reaches a broad range of survivalist entrepreneurs, across three industry sectors. The Seeds of Change programme effectively stimulates the growth of just over half of these small businesses. Importantly, the growth of these small businesses did result in job creation across some of the organisations, which supports the conclusion that the Seeds of Change programme is contributing to economic growth and community upliftment to some extent.

The evaluation also provided insight into the primary programmatic mechanisms behind the growth of these small businesses. Firstly, by developing business knowledge and skills, reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit and promoting personal development, Seeds is effectively growing people into successful entrepreneurs. Secondly, by bringing entrepreneurs together and providing access to market opportunities, Seeds is growing the entrepreneurs’ networks.

The results of the impact study performed by Sheri Errington, Research Psychologist – Social Perspectives, included both quantitative and qualitative data.  The quantitative data was analysed using basic descriptive statistics, and the qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis.

The summarized findings are as follows:

Does Seeds of Change build survivalist businesses into sustainable Organisations?

In determining this, the evidence supports the conclusion that it does:

96%  Of the Seeds entrepreneurs still had active businesses at the time of the survey.

43%  Experienced growth in profit.

56%  Experienced growth in sales.

An impressive finding is that the Seeds of Change Programme which contributed to the sustainability of 96% of the entrepreneurs in incubation appears to have outperformed an evaluation on the SEDA incubation programme with a recorded 70% of businesses remaining active after the intervention and Scarmuzzi (2002) concluded that between 80%-85% of incubated firms survive.

Does Seeds of Change contribute to job creation and economic growth?

The data provided evidence of the extent to which Seeds stimulates business growth, which is a factor in building survivalist businesses into sustainable organisations, and which contributes towards job creation and economic growth.

39%  Experienced growth in staff.

Does Seeds of Change contribute to job creation and economic growth?

Improved business knowledge & skills

Professionalism, financial management, business management, marketing and legal compliance were areas of business knowledge and skills that Seeds was perceived to have positively impacted on in the course of the training programme as shown in percentages of the group as follows:

92%  rated professionalism as one of the areas in personal development that Seeds had impacted on as their change in attitude had an impact on their business

92%  improved their ability to effectively manage the financials of their businesses with the most impactful areas being cash flow management; pricing; bookkeeping and the separation of personal and business account

85%  effectively gained knowledge and skills around the day to day management of their businesses with planning, managing growth, project management and customer service being some of the key areas impacted.

75%  effectively gained more marketing knowledge and now feel more skilled to market their own businesses.

62%  gained knowledge and skills on legal compliance of their businesses.

Some feedback from the Entrepreneurs when conducting the Survey for the Impact Study:

“We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the training…”

“Managing money…very very key…because now one can put together good

financials…adds credibility and soundness to investors.”

“I couldn’t market my business properly, but now I can. I can speak to and face big

companies and ask for business”

“I learned that you must find the problem and offer the solution.”

“Seeds has helped me build up confidence and strength.”

“Helped me change my thinking and understanding.”

“It made me a stronger person in business to face challenges.”