ITHUBA revives 82 black-owned businesses through funding

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Feb 18, 2021

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DURBAN - ITHUBA today hosted a virtual ceremony in honour of 82 small black-owned entrepreneurs, all beneficiaries of their Supplier and Enterprise Funding Programme.

Commenting on why ITHUBA decided on this programme, Group CEO Charmaine Mabuza said ITHUBA has always been deliberate in contributing positively and actively towards developing South African communities.

"The various Supplier and Enterprise Development (SED) programmes that ITHUBA has launched reflect ITHUBA’s passion to support and help develop black-owned business through skills, infrastructure, business opportunities and funding," Mabuza said.

She said this year in particular, the Funding programme was inspired by the recognition of the Covid-19 impact in the SME sector.

"We believe that entrepreneurship is critical in driving innovation and economic growth.

The grants will be instrumental in both the recovery and growth phases of the businesses we have contributed to. What’s more, when we empower our own, we remain connected to our footprints, and that is critical for us," Mabuza said.

ITHUBA’s other SED programmes include the Female Retailer Development programme, a programme that helps women who sell National Lottery products from their supermarkets and spaza shops to acquire business training and qualifications from reputable institutions.

Another programme, the ITHUBA Youth Enterprise Development helps formalise black youth-owned businesses, moving them from idea phase to commercialisation.

One of the funding beneficiaries, hairdresser Judy Shabangu expressed gratitude to ITHUBA and described how this funding will help grow her business. The Covid-19 lockdown really put a strain on the businesses.

“When lock-down was lifted I was determined to really improve my offering to attract more clients. My target market wants more from the salon such as facials and massages. This funding came as a huge relief and an absolute dream come true," Shabangu said.

ITHUBA has spent a total of R15m on this funding programme, with each recipient receiving up to R1.5m depending on their needs. Mabuza added that ITHUBA and its sister companies pledged to continue supporting the beneficiaries through business opportunities where appropriate, depending on their offering and capabilities.

“Localisation is key for us. We believe that South Africa should be serviced by South African companies, which is why we are passionate about helping develop SMMEs into solid entities that will fly the South African flag high,” Mabuza added.

Deputy Minister of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Nomalungelo Gina who spoke at the event, congratulated ITHUBA on this initiative and emphasised the importance of corporates to help develop black businesses.

“The empowerment of black people to run their own businesses is fundamental to the agenda of what established corporates must resort to. The condensation that is commonly made by racially conservative businesses or business leaders and some opposition political parties that B-BBEE is a stumbling block to the success of the economy, must be challenged.

“These nay-sayers always substitute racial regress with merit, as if the latter is not found in the former – in other words, ‘black by definition means incompetent’. We must hold hands and together fight this notion that must be debunked,” she said.

IOL

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