CAPE TOWN - A co-operative in the manufacturing industry run successfully by 18 women ranked second place in the Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards that recognises exceptional businesswomen.
Mgij mu Chemicals and Toilet Paper Manufacturing Co-operative in KwaMbotho, South of Durban, manufactures and supplies an array of cleaning products to schools in Harding and surrounding areas.
Imbokodo Iyazenzela or “Women doing it for themselves” is a flagship programme of Ithala Development Finance Corporation which aims to create an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs who require access to finance and the resources to grow.
The Co-operative scooped second position with a cash prize of R20 000 in the Women in Business Awards.
Marketing Manager, Ncane Noshwana is currently pursuing a degree in Marketing at the University of South Africa.
Prior to joining the co-operative, Noshwana earned her living as a seamstress in Pietermaritzburg. Her small business supplied school uniforms to local schools in the city.
"Networking and marketing have always been my strengths and I knew I had to capitalise on it to grow my business", said Noshwana.
"Fortunately, when Ithala contacted me to present my business proposal, I had been working on one for quite some time and I saw this as an opportunity to fine tune it. I was later informed that I was selected as a finalist", adds Noshwana.
Driving SMME and cooperative development over the next five years is one of the key strategic goals of Ithala.
Over the past three years, the provincial KZN development agency has disbursed R878 600 000 to nearly 700 businesses, resulting in over 8 000 jobs being created. Of these, 28% are women-owned businesses and young people comprise nearly 40% of those on Ithala’s loan book.
In addition to cleaning detergents plans are in the pipeline to expand the Ithala business is to include lotions, perfumes and tissues.
When asked if she thinks there is enough support for young and aspiring entrepreneurs in South Africa, Noshwana immediately replied: "Yes definitely, since receiving this endorsement from Ithala for our growing business, we have been approached by numerous young people in our community for advice on the appropriate steps to follow when starting a businesses and we are ever willing to help".
Ithala’s Business Finance portfolio caters for small and medium industrial and commercial businesses as well as agricultural enterprises, tourism ventures, co-operatives and building contractors.
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