“Imbokodo Iyazenzela was launched in 2015 and has reached over 3 000 women in 16 towns across KZN to date.”
A mentorship programme run by Ithala Development Finance Corporation is helping women in rural and township areas realise their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.
The programme is designed to help micro-level Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) grow and sustain their businesses.
The initiative is part of phase three of Ithala’s Imbokodo Iyazenzela programme, which is a pillar of support to women entrepreneurs in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) who require access to finance and resources to grow their enterprises.
Imbokodo Iyazenzela was launched in 2015 and has reached over 3 000 women in 16 towns across KZN to date.
Cutting Edge Business Solutions is formally and regularly mentoring and coaching the top 20 participants in the 2017 programme to help them improve their businesses and make them sustainable. The mentors’ role is to help maximise mentees’ business revenues by providing them with effective marketing ideas and financial literacy lessons, improving their administrative skills and helping them to be compliant with the legal requirements for running a business.
“After traversing KZN to identify the bottlenecks preventing aspiring business women from reaching their full potential in phase one of Imbokodo and thereafter putting them in touch with our esteemed partners to overcome their challenges in phase two, the finalists have experienced tangible business growth,” said Sitandiwe Dimba, Ithala’s Corporate Social Investment Coordinator.
The four broad categories of hindrances identified during the outreach were access to markets, finance, business support, and marketing and sales.
Mbali Shinga (44) owner of Ubuhle Bozalo Trading says she has benefited from the programme.
“My mentor, Zandile Nkala, helped immensely to brand and market my business. I have taken it upon myself to start mentoring members of my community, especially the youth, by conducting ‘entrepreneurship talks’ to motivate them to start their own businesses,” she said.
Thulani Mazibuko, the managing director of Cutting Edge Business Solutions, said Shinga, has stood out as a mentee and shown significant progress through the mentorship programme.
“Shinga’s business currently employs 29 people in permanent positions. Her company has its own logo, letterhead and a website that will soon be accessible.