More than eight businesses received recognition at the Ithala Business Achiever Awards held in Durban recently, for their contribution towards developing KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) as an entrepreneurial province.
The annual awards hosted by Ithala Development Finance Corporation, recognise the efforts of businesses in several industries, including hospitality, manufacturing, agriculture, and transport and logistics.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Ithala Group Chairman Dr Mandla Gantsho said Ithala has assisted more than 800 enterprises over the past few years.
“In 2016 alone 367 SMMEs and cooperatives were provided with business loans, thereby facilitating 2 396 jobs in the province of KZN. Ithala disbursed business loans totalling R120 million to SMMEs and cooperatives. To empower female cooperatives, Ithala partnered with the Department of Education to provide financing and support to cooperatives and small businesses which have been awarded contracts by the department to supply food to schools in terms of the National School Nutrition Programme,” said Dr Gantsho.
Ithala, KZN’s provincial development agency, is a state-owned Entity that falls under KZN’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs under the leadership of MEC Sihle Zikalala.
“As a development finance institution, we take seriously our role to help government accelerate radical transformation to alleviate the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality through programmes that promote economic inclusion,” said Yvonne Zwane Ithala Group Chief Executive.
“Fostering greater entrepreneurial activity in the country will be key to tackling unemployment issues and stimulating job creation. Hence, early exposure to entrepreneurship as a viable career option at schools will create greater interest in self-employment and enable a progressive nation,” she said.
Ithala is mandated to deliver development and empowerment solutions and encourage participation in all sectors of the economy including, and especially, the historically disadvantaged members of society through employment creation, skills transfer and training.
“In your enterprise development journey, you will not be left alone to fend for yourself after a successful loan application. While strict business requirements for lending will always apply, we are a lender with a heart. We will stand by you and help develop your business to ensure it remains relevant, profitable and sustainable,” added Zwane.
Over the past five years, 12 425 jobs have been created through lending activities, 873 enterprises have been assisted and loans totalling R1.45 billion have been advanced.
Sandile Ntuli, the managing director of Black Carrot Trading, which specialises in providing logistical services to the coal mining sector in Ulundi and Newcastle and long haulage services nationally and between South Africa and Mozambique, bagged the coveted “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, a R50 000 cash prize and an additional
R10 000 to donate to a charity of his choice.
Four category award winners each received R30 000:
- Themba Ndlovu: owner of Cubana restaurant in Pietermaritzburg - Franchise Business of the Year
- Thokozane Masikane: owner of Tiba T Trading in Pietermaritzburg – Micro Business of the Year
- Pepeta Loyisa: owner of Copperfield Dairy farm in the Cedarville area – Agriculture Business of the Year
- Sandile Ntuli: managing director of Black Carrot Trading, with its head office in Pinetown – Logistical Service Business of the Year
Three Special Awards recipients each received R10 000:
- Bonginkosi Ngcobo, who established his sugar cane farm, Snembe Farm, in Tongaat in 1975. This year he celebrates 20 years as a client of Ithala – Lifetime Achievement Award
- Nokuthula Dladla, Megaphase Road Marking and Traffic Signs – Operational Excellence in the Manufacturing Sector
- Thamsanqa Ngcobo, Mlalazi Cooperative – Operational Excellence by a Cooperative Business.