Who will be your mentor?

Let my hindsight become your foresight, helping you to take your business to the next level

Dear Entrepreneur,

My name is Renay van der Berg.

I am at a stage in my life where passion meets purpose and where my career is actually the time when I am having the most fun. As a business mentor and in my personal life I have found my flow, which is the fortunate state of being “in the zone”, a joyful state of peak performance.

As a seasoned businesswoman, I am in a life stage where I want to hand the torch to the next generation – young entrepreneurs – by mentoring them on business operations to ensure they become more effective, efficient and productive, with a positive perception in the marketplace; therefore sustainable. My professional strategic approach, supported by my wide-spectrum business acumen, resources and quality assurance motto of “Never Assume” differentiates me.

The most rewarding for me is how an entrepreneur develops a new drive and hope to see dreams come true.

The one thing I learned from my Dad is: You are never big enough to be B I G – meaning there is always more to achieve, more successful people, steeper ladders to climb.

There is always room for improvement.

As an entrepreneur, you are, or should never be, fulfilled. There is still so much potential and so many opportunities to explore. Will you ever be able to sit back and say “I’ve arrived”? From my experience, as an entrepreneur myself, the answer is… Never!

As there is always one more dream, more you would like to accomplish, another risk to take – you need to aim higher. Challenge yourself! Business is a jungle. It should be fun finding your inner Tarzan.

When you feel unfulfilled or overwhelmed (two words that I hear quite often) it might be time to source a mentor who can direct you to back to a purposeful journey.

Perhaps you’ve thought many times before “If only I had the cash flow to…” or “If only I can afford a mentor to guide me”. Perhaps you realise you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but have no-one to turn to. When we start panicking we usually choose to ignore the issue on the table in our hope that the feeling will disappear, or we wait for a miracle to solve the problem.

We hold ourselves back from asking for help when we need it most, and yet a small intervention might put you back on track again. By not asking for help, you might be your own biggest enemy. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely place to be, and you need a sounding board from time to time.

As witness to your entrepreneurial journey, we look at your reality through a different lens, keeping you true to your story. The reason I wake up every morning is to make a difference in someone’s life.  My given talent is to guide SMME’s to overcome their daily hurdles.

Let my hindsight become your foresight.

I am passionate about empowering SMME’s to ensure their enterprises will be sustainable so that they can play an influential role in stimulating their immediate economic chain to the benefit of the broader community.

To inspire others to push boundaries, and become more confident and ready for the next level, is what I do best. Women (especially female youth members) are particularly close to my heart and I would like to see all women come to realise that, with the right attitude, they can make their dreams come true.

As a mentor, I strive to leave nobody untouched, but rather to leave a permanent footprint. My aim is to inspire others to push boundaries, and become more confident, ready to steer their business to the next level.

Mentoring is truly rewarding – it’s about being a change agent! – and by doing this I contribute to building a better South Africa

Take my hand… together we can build a brighter future!

My personal profile

After high school, I went to Pretoria Technicon (now TUT) to study journalism, and my first job was at the community newspaper in Welkom. After 3 years at the newspaper, the Town Clerk at the neighbouring Municipality (Motse-Thabong) asked me to do their public relations, and through PRISA I then studied further to become an accredited public relations practitioner (APR). This is the highest internationally recognised form of registration in the Public Relations Industry. With my APR in the hand, I started my own PR consultancy, which was the start of my entrepreneurial career.

PRoComm soon became a trusted brand and over time evolved into Integrated Marketing Communication and Business Development.

My next goal was a career change at the age of 50 to become a mentor, having realised that I have a broad spectrum of experience to share with newcomers to the business world.

Academic qualifications, and how that helps my mentees

Being an Accredited Public Relations Practitioner gives me a competitive edge and it is also a huge benefit to my mentees, as most SMME’s struggle specifically with marketing.

I am also a Qualified Empreteco, having completed an Entrepreneurial course offered by UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), with SEDA being their implementing agent in South Africa. This course equipped me with the personal entrepreneurial competencies (PEC’s) one needs to be successful in business.

I am a professional member of PRISA, COMENSA and the local Chamber of Business.

My experience, and how this has helped me in my capacity as a mentor

Being a businesswoman for the past 3 decades, I know the challenges faced by entrepreneurs on a daily basis. My broad-spectrum business experience makes me resourceful, and being well connected is beneficial to my mentees, as it enables me to share the latest business trends with them.

Most of my professional experience is as an Integrated Marketing Communication Strategist, and my creative side helps my mentees realise how marketing can be done on a limited budget and in a unique way.

The Business Development side of PRoComm developed organically on demand and has assisted around 1000 SMME’s through various interventions, during which we gained a lot of knowledge about funders’ criteria (this helps us to ensure the mentee / SMME is funding ready). My budgeting and costing exercises helps mentees to become more cost-conscious, adding to the bottom line and ultimately having a sound cash flow.

The most significant milestones reached in my career

2014 – Top 10 global finalist in the UNCTAD EMPRETEC Women in Business Awards

Returning from the United Nations in Geneva, (and just turned 50), gave me the confidence that I indeed do have the skills, knowledge, and experience to assist other SMME’s to become more sustainable enterprises.

This was also the time when our only child passed away and I made the decision to close my office on the main street of Welkom to become a “mobile” mentor.

This was one of the best decisions ever, as it allows me the freedom to brew all my passions in one pot – unleashing potential in others (mentoring), travelling (working with clients country-wide) and photography (made easy through my travels, and a value-add to my clients as they can use my photos in their marketing material).

2013 – Awarded SA’s Most Influential Woman in Business & Government – SME Sector” (by CEO Magazine)

2001Chairperson of the local CPF

My PR skills came to play, and I had to rope in all my professional networks to establish the local community-based satellite police station in 2001, the 1st in the Free State and then one of five in SA.

Mentorship milestones

  • 2017/18 – I was the primary mentor in a capacitation programme for the Tourism Industry, assisting more than 200 SMME’s across five provinces to take their businesses to the next level.
  • 2015/16 – I project managed the Women Entrepreneurs Coaching Programme (WECP) – a one-year National SEDA Project, to empower 18 established women-owned businesses through mentorship.
  • Since 2010 PRoComm assisted more than 1000 clients, who benefitted through various business development interventions.
  • Since 2004, when SEDA (The Small Enterprise Development Agency) was established as an agency of DTI and handed over to the Department of Small Business Development, I worked closely with them and their clients across South Africa, and also with their national office to develop SMME’s.