Women Enterprise Development Graduates

EASTERN CAPE - 19 Nelson Mandela Bay women-owned businesses graduate from R250 000 enterprise development programme. 

The graduation ceremony was held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre in Uitenhage. 

MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism the Honourable Sakhumzi Somyo officiated the ceremony. The enterprise development program was earmarked as one of the MEC’s commitment to Provincial women’s dialogue held in East London in August 2017. Enterprises from the Nelson Mandela Bay area were recruited for the program, through advertising and referrals from partner organisations such as business associations. 

21 eligible enterprises were admitted to the programme. The programme provided training, mentorship and coaching covering areas such as strategy development, financial management, marketing management and business legal compliance.

Notably, one of the enterprises that graduated from the program on 17 August 2017 is women-owned enterprise, Richmond-based Bibstar Trading and Projects owned by Nozipho Hlalukana. The cleaning, renovatons and maintenance service company employs eight women and two men. 

The company has contracts with companies such as the South African Maritime Authority, Coega Development Corporation and the Department of Rural Development.

“The ECDC-UDDI women enterprise development programme provided Bibstar with the general business tools to grow and sustain my business. My business was provided with a mentor Lulama Jakavula who is a business trainer and her help was instrumental in ensuring that Bibstar developed proper financial management systems. Further support included people management and payroll systems. We also had access to an extended network of mentors with different expertise that we could lean on for support and advice,” says Hlalukana.

“The programme is aimed at facilitating growth and sustainability of women-led small businesses, supporting women-owned businesses to operate in a professional manner while improving their administrative efficiencies and business compliance as well as developing business management and technical skills to create readiness for markets and investor opportunities.Once enterprises were admitted to the programme, a baseline assessment was carried out to determine the status of the businesses and their business needs. Based on the identified gaps, mentors with relevant skills were recruited and a programme to address the identified needs was developed,” said ECDC business support manager, Mpumi Fundam. 

Another participating enterprise is Zozinette, a 100% women-owned enterprise in Port Elizabeth. 

The company specialises in locally-made custom designed baby carriers including stretch wraps, woven wraps, ring slings and buckle carriers.

Eight black women are employed by Zozinette which received support in the form of market access, strategy formulation, mentorship as well as a financial masterclass.

Additionally, another beneficiary is Lumia, a 100% black women-owned business in KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage. 

Lumia specialises in DSTV and Openview HD installations, upgrades and support services. The company which employs five people  from KwaNobuhle is an accredited service provider for both DSTV and Toptv. 

KwaNobuhle received financial management and software support, financial management, strategy formulation support as well as mentorship. Fifteen of the companies participated in the Africa for Africa Women’s conference held in Port Elizabeth. This international conference drew attendance of women from more than five countries in Africa and around the world. 

The event provided exposure and networking opportunities including access to markets for the enterprises. According to UDDI chief executive officer Patricia Dlamini, three master classes were held which focused on business strategy development, financial management and business regulations and compliance.

Dlamini says one-on-one mentorship and coaching of enterprises was provided. “Over and above the one-on-one sessions, enterprises participated in group mentorship and therefore benefitting from a variety of expert mentors who had different specialisations. Further business assessments were carried out in the middle of the programme to determine enterprise development and assess any growth,” Dlamini explains.

“The programme was a response to a need to provide non-financial support in order to harness the competitiveness of these small businesses. The intention is to ensure that these enterprises are well-managed and are prepared for long-term growth. It is believed that through participating in the programme, the enterprises will become more market ready and sustainable,” said Fundam.