Honeyboy Ncube beat Sandile Mhlongo in a cocktail challenge during a mixology exhibition at the North Regional Business Fair in KwaMashu. Ncube stands a chance of winning an internship with Barrio Restaurant at the Main Durban Business Fair in September. Picture: GGCINA NDWALANE, INLSA

Durban - Small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) were boosted at the North Regional annual Business Fair which took place between 17-19 August at Bridge City Mall in KwaMashu.

In it’s fifth year running, the fair themed “Rural and Township Economic Revitalisation” featured various activities aimed to empower businesses and present empowerment opportunities in various fields.

Sthembiso Dlamini, 26, co-owner of X-Computers said their computer business started as a sideline venture to supplement their lives but the “passion just became too wild” and they decided to pursue the business full time.

“It started way back from high school days, we always had a passion for computers. We used to fix our school computers and eventually we thought to ourselves that we could do this full time,” he said.

The company supports small SMMES and “end users” in the IT field as well as offer support services like repairs on computers and sales of new and refurbished machines.

“Our end goal is to educate and ensure that everyone from low end to high end brackets know how to work and use a computer. We would like people who live in remote areas like Nkandla to also be technically inclined,” said Dlamini.

 In the last five years the company has grown from two people to over 20 employees.

“We are trying very hard to reduce unemployment especially with the youth. Our aim is to lessen the amount of people who get out of school and do nothing,” Dlamini said.

Another entrepreneur, Buyi Gwiji,  started a beadwork cooperative business called Zanobukhetho along with four other ladies.

“This business is my dream. I was working at Nampak and while I was working I had a vision of doing bead work,” she said.

Gwiji said the home based business mostly exhibit their merchandise at the Montclair mall and while business is good, the biggest challenge they face is that they do not have a permanent store to display their work.

“I need a shop so that I can display my stuff so that people when they want me, they know where to find me at a permanent place,” said Gwiji.

Meanwhile during a mixology session hosted by mixologist Pretty Ndlovu from Barrio restaurant under the Flavours of Durban segment of the fair, two men took part in a cocktail challenge with the hope of becoming a finalist vying for an internship with Barrio.

30-year-old  KwaMashu resident, Honeyboy Ncube, won the challenge with a desert cocktail he called “The Honey Bee.”

 “I’ve always had love for cocktails, it’s like a dream come true for this to happen on this type of platform,” he said.

Ndlovu said that mixology has become a trend that was once a male dominated industry but more women are now getting involved.

“Mixology is about creating something new that’s coming out of your mind so it gives you a platform to create the ideas in your mind,” Ndlovu added.

Ncube will compete with other regional finalists for the internship at the main Durban Business Fair which will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from September 18-23.

It will provide a wide range of opportunities from various sectors, including textile and clothing, technology and film.

The Mercury