IDFC Chief Executive Pearl Bhengu (left) with the winner of the Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards Thembi Maseko (centre) and the KZN MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala (right).
Photo: Supplied
IDFC Chief Executive Pearl Bhengu (left) with the winner of the Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards Thembi Maseko (centre) and the KZN MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala (right). Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - Ithala Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) has celebrated the perseverance and tenacity of KwaZulu-Natal’s SMME businesswomen at the 2018 Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in Business Awards.

The winners were announced at a gala dinner held at The Waterfront Hotel at Durban’s Point Waterfront.

"In line with its mandate as KwaZulu-Natal’s development agency Ithala continues to recognise and reward business success in the SMME sector emphasizing its commitment to the continued development of entrepreneurship in KwaZulu-Natal," said Sitandiwe Dimba, Ithala Group Reputation Manager.

Now in its third year, Imbokodo Iyazenzela is a flagship programme of IDFC.  It is a province-wide women in SMME’s development programme focusing mainly on the township and rural areas. 

Ithala takes the programme directly to rural areas offering inspirational talks, advice, direction and opportunities for women who are in business or who want to get into business.  

The aim of IDFC is to create an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs who require access to finance and the resources to grow.

Dimba said, "The programme is also closely aligned to Ithala’s three key priority areas: Rural Development; Township Revival; and Youth and Women Empowerment". 

Taking the number one place and a prize of R50 000 was Thembi Maseko owner of Mqhele Bed & Breakfast in Richards Bay. 

The first runner-up was Phindile Nxumalo owner of eThekwini-based Lwandle Enterprise Development a firm of chartered accountants. Nxumalo took home R30 000 in prize money.

The firm is focused on Public Financial Management and Capacitation and aims to be an enterprise development leader supporting the SMME sector in financial management throughout Southern Africa.

Altogether, 568 entries were received and 20 finalists were selected and adjudicated by an independent panel of judges. 

Although, the top three winners take home cash prizes all 20 women win a year’s business mentorship and coaching, streamlined to their business needs.

The entries were received from various sectors including agriculture, agro-processing, financial, tourism, hospitality and logistics across the province.

"Mentorship is a powerful prize. Our experience over the past four years has shown that many women start their businesses with little or no business knowledge. Those who receive mentoring through our awards programme have become better at running a business; know if they are making profits or losses and have improved their marketing and sales," said Dimba.  

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