Graduate Entrepreneur Support Service

Being an entrepreneur takes passion, self-motivation, courage and skill. It also requires networks and support. At the RAA we recognise that being a young entrepreneur is even more challenging and sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand along the way.  That’s why we started the Graduate Entrepreneur Support Service (GESS) for RAA graduate entrepreneurs who, on completing the 6 month RAA course, would like to start a business, or who require assistance with their existing businesses.

The GESS initiative is an incredibly important component of the RAA offering in that is provides critical support to graduates in the start-up phase of their business. GESS is a necessary stepping stone to the next level entrepreneurial journeys.

The GESS programme comprises:

Business development support for RAA Alumni entrepreneurs

- Support and Seed Funding

- Entrepreneurial training and development 


The objectives of the GESS programme are to:

1. Assist in developing sustainable GESS businesses

2. Provide appropriate skills training for each GESS entrepreneur while on the programme

3. Ensure external support is in place for each GESS participating entrepreneur so that they continue to be sustainable once they exit the programmme.


The RAA GESS team choose a small group of graduate entrepreneurs to work with each year, participation in the GESS programme is selection based – we work with graduates who’ve shown passion for what they do and who have a good reputation for hard work and dedication.


The participants in the GESS programme have businesses in a range of industries, including health, furniture manufacturing, marketing, events, fashion, hair and beauty and tourism.


GESS is one of 8 international university projects selected to form part of the Taillores Network Youth Economic Participation Initiative, which aims to address the global crisis in youth unemployment by supporting the efforts of universities in developing countries to develop and test innovative university led models that enable graduates to become successful entrepreneurs. The Talloires Network has selected eight universities globally from different regions including Africa, Asia, Latin America to run the pilot YEPI programme. The RAA‘s GESS programme is the only South African project within YEPI programme – something we’re incredibly proud of!


For stories on our GESS entrepreneurs please go to our Facebook Page or the following link: