Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Palesa Phili, director of MySpaza, Sakhile Madonsela, and the US consul-general in Durban, Sherry Zalika Sykes, at the launch of the Siyabakhulisa training programme.
Durban - The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched its Siyabakhulisa training programme last month.

The programme forms part of the chamber’s drive to help formalise the informal sector by empowering owners of local micro-businesses in KwaZulu-Natal townships.

Siyabakhulisa is a Zulu word which means “we will grow them”.

Chamber CEO Palesa Phili said: “The Durban Chamber developed the Siyabakhulisa programme, and it was specifically designed for the micro-businesses affiliated to our group membership portfolio in our rural and township communities in KwaZulu-Natal. It aims to teach them business values and disciplines that they need to have in order to succeed.

“These micro-businesses need to be upskilled with practical insights, skills and tools which will include brand building, financial management and planning, marketing, merchandising, business governance, compliance with by-laws and being a ‘green business’, incorporating waste management and good environmental practice.

“The aim is to create self-reliant business owners that are their own employers and wealth creators who are empowered to develop and uplift their local community and positively contribute to the local economy through economic activity,” said Phili.

The initial phase of the programme has been sponsored by the US consulate in Durban and will include 470 micro-businesses from KwaZulu-Natal.

US consul-general Sherry Zalika Sykes said: “The US is thrilled to partner with the Durban Chamber of Commerce to support Siyabakhulisa.

“The consulate has a long-standing relationship with the Durban Chamber and together we are empowering local micro-businesses to reduce socio-economic inequalities in the province.

“We are eager to see this be a catalyst to spur others on to partnering with the Durban Chamber on even more ambitious projects to ultimately help create economic growth and promote human dignity in KwaZulu-Natal and beyond.”

Said Phili: “On behalf of the Durban Chamber, the 470 business owners and the local and rural communities who will benefit from this programme, I want to convey our thanks to the US consulate in Durban and the US government for sponsoring this programme.

“The chamber’s job is to create platforms and programmes that empower and enable business, and this funding allows us to do that, as well as effect real change that will benefit and uplift local rural and township communities and positively impact our growth and development goals.”

The Mercury