Ithala’s Imbokodo Iyazenzela – Women doing it for themselves, , is a province wide Women in SMME’s development programme focusing mainly on the township and rural areas, taken directly to the women in the Province offering inspirational talks, advice, direction and opportunities for women in communities who are in business or who want to get into business.
The programme is aligned to three key priority areas: Rural Development; Township Revival; and Youth and Women Empowerment
Launched in 2015, the outreach programme traversed KwaZulu-Natal from Port Shepstone, Harding and Umlazi in the South to the Midlands, Ulundi, KwaDukuza, Eshowe, Empangeni, Richards Bay and even further north to Manguzi, Jozini and Pongola and Mbazwana. A panel of experts, comprising KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), SEDA, SARS, NYDA, LED Managers from different municipalities, Amakhosi Traditional Council, Inkombandlela Verification Agency and KZN Department of Transport, provided key answers to the questions posed during these workshops
To date, over where over 3000 women running small and micro businesses such as salons and spaza shops, and who specialise in for example, catering, arts and crafts etc. had the opportunity to attend to learn, share and contribute to each other’s betterment.
Across the province, it was discovered that women in SMMEs faced similar challenges in starting, sustaining and growing their businesses.
Access to markets, access to finance, access to business support and marketing and sales were the key challenges. Obtaining funding was hindered by a lack of understanding of setting up business banking accounts, registering businesses, compiling sound business plans, obtaining tax clearance certificates and building collateral, in order to engage with financial institutions and access markets and tender.
Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards
421nominations were received this year (2017) an improvement from the 121 that were received in 2016.
A stringent selection process by an expert independent panel, was guided by an evaluation of various criteria including the following: Registered Business, 100% Women Ownership, BBBEE & SARS compliance, Sustainability, Promoting job creation, Community impact etc.
The nominated 20 female entrepreneurs were celebrated and acknowledged by Ithala for being local heroes communities at a glittering awards ceremony dinner in Durban on 25 October. These top 20 business women will be going into the mentorship programme to provide mentorship solutions, specifically designed to meet individual needs of their businesses