KZN women SMMEs recognised for achievements

04 December 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201917337

Agriculture & Sugar
Commerce & Trade
Finance & Investment
SMME Development & Support
KZN women SMMEs recognised for achievements
Imbokodo Iyazenzela Awards 2019 winner: Nokuthula Memela, Philisiwe Mkhonza and Sibongiseni Mthethwa

ITHALA Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), at the weekend, celebrated the perseverance and achievements of KwaZulu-Natal’s SMME businesswomen.

Guests clapped and ululated as 20 KZN businesswomen winners of the 2019 Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards were announced at a gala dinner held at the Durban ICC.

“As KwaZulu-Natal’s development agency Ithala continues to recognise and reward business success in the SMME sector and is committed to the continued development of entrepreneurship in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Sitandiwe Dimba, Ithala Group Reputation Manager.

“The SMME sector is critical to finding solutions to joblessness and poverty in the country. Across KwaZulu-Natal we found that women in SMMEs faced similar challenges in starting, sustaining and growing their businesses.”

Taking the number one place and a purse of R50 000 was Philisiwe Mkhonza owner of Impilwenhle Trading and Projects, a 584-hectare livestock farming company in rural Vryheid. Based on the Frisgwaagd Farm in the Kingsley area, it breeds cattle, sheep, goats and free-range pigs.

Mokhonza, who has been in operation for four years and has six employees, aims to leverage the opportunities available in the livestock farming and meat production industry and contribute to growing the local, and regional economy.

The first runner up, winning R30 000, was Nokuthula Memela owner of Four Stars Communications an education and business training operation.

Situated in Mount Ayliff, near Kokstad the company has been operating for 10 years and has 11 employees and is accredited by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA to provide training in Information Technology to an NQF Level 3, further education and training certificate in technical support, general education and training certificate in clothing manufacturing process and national certificate in clothing textile fibre leather manufacturing process.

It also provides computer skills training and access to the internet in the community.

Ekhaya Beauty Spa offers a holistic approach to beauty reflected by the diversity of treatments they offer their clients. The spa has, over the past 14 years, established itself as a beauty hub of choice.

Sbongiseni Mthethwa owner of Ekhaya Beauty Professional was second runner-up winning R20 000. Based in Pietermaritzburg, Mthethwa runs a well-established beauty spa which employees five permanent staff and 20 temporary staff.

A total of 650 entries were received and 20 finalists were selected and adjudicated by an independent panel of judges. While the top three winners take home cash prizes, all 20 women win a year’s business mentorship and coaching, streamlined to their business needs.

“Mentorship is a powerful prize. Our experience over the past four years has shown that many women start their businesses with little or no business knowledge. Those who receive mentoring through our awards programme have become better at running a business; know if they are making profits or losses and have improved their marketing and sales,” said Dimba.

“Research also shows that start-up and small businesses that receive mentoring have a better chance of survival and improve their revenue.”

Imbokodo Iyazenzela or “Women doing it for themselves”, now in its fifth year is a flagship programme of IDFC. It is a province-wide development programme focusing mainly on the township and rural areas.

“We take the programme directly to rural areas offering inspirational talks, advice, direction and opportunities for women in business or who want to get into business. Our aim is to create an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs who require access to finance and the resources to grow,” she said.

“The popularity of the competition is an indication of many women wanting to improve and grow their businesses and realising that they needed business knowledge.”

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