Financial expert, entrepreneur and Founder of business advisory firm House of Growth Francois Herbst has a grand vision. It involves upskilling people, creating value for startups and assisting SMEs in reaching their financial goals. A seasoned chartered accountant (CA), Herbst seeks out potential in situations – ideal for anyone getting a grip with the business terrain. “During my articles, I met so many SMEs not reaching their full potential due to their lack of operational structure and financial literacy,” he says. “I decided to start helping these business owners make informed decisions, leading to sustainable growth, more profit and job creation.”

The skills subsidiary 

For House of Growth, “investment” is a multifaceted word. Not only does the company offer monetary support to small businesses in exchange for shares, but it also invests time over the long term. “As CAs ourselves, we will be the first to point out the importance of interpreting and understanding your business finances, but we know the heart of any organisation lies within the operational side of having a successful business,” says Herbst. 

Developing skills for individuals to become self-sufficient is another area House of Growth is fully invested in. Given South Africa’s unemployment rate, incorporating socio-economic programmes into corporate strategies is the crucial way forward. Such social investment creates a knock-on effect. Upskilled individuals will then have the insight to start their own businesses, create jobs and, in turn, upskill others. 

On backing local talent

In South Africa, the increasing need for mentors who are willing to impart knowledge on what makes a business successful is on a continuous upward spike. Herbst explains how the demand is overwhelming, further motivating him to ensure the quality of service supplied by House of Growth remains up to standard with the resources they have. “We need to continuously monitor our capacity versus the demand for our service. To keep delivering the utmost professional and quality service, we as a firm need to make sure our capacity is enough to address the needs of our clients.”

A large demand for these services is extremely positive for South Africa’s economy. It highlights the fact that many individuals are starting their own businesses, which in turn creates more jobs and boosts the economy. “Growing up as a sportsman, I was taught from a young age to know the rules of the game, accept it and play as hard as you can within those rules. And I still hold true to this mantra,” he says. “Could there be more constructive legislation? Most definitely, yes. But while this legislation applies to all businesses, make sure you out-work, out-smart and outperform your competition. I am still very confident about the future of South Africa.”

Read more in the March/April issue of Fast Company South Africa.

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