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
Held over a three-month period, the 2015 outreach programme traversed KwaZulu-Natal from Port Shepstone and Umlazi in the South to the Midlands, Ulundi, KwaDukuza, Eshowe, Richards Bay and even further north to Manguzi, Jozini and Mbazwana. There were 16 interactive business workshops in total where over 1000 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.
A panel of experts, comprising KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), SEDA, SARS, 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
The majority of women who attended the workshops owned their businesses but many were in the informal sector and not necessarily registered.
One of the objectives was aimed at gathering key insights from the women themselves on obstacles and challenges they face in business. Across the province, it was discovered that they 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.
The 2015 programme marks the beginning of the Imbokodo journey. The outreach programme will expand and continue. The three winners will benefit from Ithala’s business support programme and a “Start-up Entrepreneurial booklet” is currently being compiled as a reference manual for all delegates who attended the workshops. This publication will offer guidance and contain contact information on the relevant regulatory and business support institutions. Mentorship opportunities and market access opportunities are also being explored to assist these women to grow and sustain their businesses.
Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards
The Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards was initiated at the workshops where delegates were asked to nominate other women who ran successful businesses in their area and who contributed positively towards job creation and community development.
Of the 201 nominations received from across the province, 20 were selected for the judging process where three winners were chosen and acknowledged at a special event held in Durban during August.
“I have just registered my catering business and derived much value from attending the workshop. Thank you Ithala for providing access to a wealth of knowledge including how to maintain a business and keep it growing and profitable” – Nokwazi Shembe, Newcastle