SMME Skills Development Workshop Empowers Rural Women
SMME Skills Development Workshop Empowers Rural Women

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Ithala - SMME Skills Development Workshop Empowers Rural Women


As part of a collaboration between Ithala Development Finance Corporation and the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWSA), the Top 20 nominees in the “Imbokodo Iyazenzela” Women in SMMEs Awards 2016 were hosted at a business skills development workshop in Durban this week.

“Imbokodo Iyazenzela” or “Women doing it for themselves” is one of three flagship programmes spearheaded by Ithala, KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial development agency, to improve the long-term sustainability of SMMEs in the province.

Phase one of “Imbokodo Iyazenzela” involved a series of informative breakfast workshops held across KZN over a three-month period. The programme was piloted in 2015 and reached 1 041 women in 16 towns.

The objective of phase two of the campaign was to bring on board strategic partners to assist with the business development needs of female entrepreneurs.

The third phase is about connecting businesswomen with mentors who have the knowledge and expertise to elevate their businesses to the next level.  

“The partnership with Ithala has enabled us to extend our reach to women in rural and township areas through platforms that will enable true empowerment,” said Mpume Langa, BWASA Durban Chairperson.

“By way of giving back to the community, mentors from BWASA volunteer their time to assist entrepreneurs - some of whom hail from afar as Jozini, Manguzi and Port Shepstone - in growing their businesses.

“Monthly meetings between mentors and mentees are held to develop strengths, address key issues and enable skills transfer. A stringent reporting mechanism to track discussions and progress is administered online to promote growth and development and ensure business targets are effectively achieved.”

In addition, inspirational speakers will be joining Ithala in its My Business Indaba, taking to the road later this month. The programme comprises a two-day entrepreneurial expo aimed at rural and township SMMEs, co-operatives, youth and women. 

In the past three years, Ithala has funded 684 business. The organisation disbursed R875 million, creating 7 917 jobs. Women-owned enterprises comprise 28% of Ithala’s loan book while youth businesses are 39%.

For enquiries, call 031 907 8921 or email

Ithala - SMME Skills Development Workshop Empowers Rural Women

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