Swaziland: Emerging entrepreneurs excel at the Gender summit

Swaziland: Emerging entrepreneurs excel at the Gender summit

Date: July 10, 2015
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Ezulwini, 9 July: Mbabane Municipal Council Mayor Benito Jones has urged entrepreneurs to steer clear of activities that sabotage their business. President of the Swaziland Local Governments Association (SWALGA) and Municipal Council of Mbabane Mayor, His Lordship Jones made these remarks following presentations by Emerging Entrepreneurs at the just ended Swazialnd SADC Gender Summit in Ezulwini Swaziland.

“What you are doing is letting yourselves and your businesses down. Entrepreneurship demands that you be shrewd and less generous. You must stop this trait of operating your businesses like charity organisations because they will never prosper,” said. Participants in this category showcased examples of businesses in sectors dominated by men.

Vegetable production seemed to be a favourite for the participants as about five participants were planning businesses along this line. Amongst these is Bethusile Nzima of Hlatikhulu with her initiative known as Project 13, which is aimed at supplying cabbages to people in Nhlangano and Hlatikhulu. Nomsa Mdluli, a widow from Nhlangano surprised everybody as she presented her project that is in the property development sector. Her business, Khabzela Flats, aims at providing residential flats to people who relocate to Nhlangano and the surrounding areas seeking employment, especially employees of the textile factories in the area.

“At present, I have five flats that I maintain and I want to add more. I have already bought a piece of land where my new flats will be built and I’m on the verge of securing a E50 000 loan from the bank to help me meet the requirements of the quotation I got from Mica Hardware,” Mdluli revealed. Another member of the judging panel, Fikile Mkhonta, praised the innovatiion of the participants in coming up with brilliant business ideas.

“I have been with Gender Links for the past three summits and I am really impressed with this year’s ideas. It really shows that people are putting their minds to their work and businesses. The business plans that we saw today show great progress and people are really applying themselves now,” she noted. Even though there was a lot of creativity, the participants had some flaws, amongst which were in record keeping and consistency in production; these were persistent problem facing the aspiring entrepreneurs.

Percis Simelane of Siyazama Spaza, mentioned that amongst other things, her tuckshop is hindered by the lack of knowledge on record keeping, which impacts negatively on her business.

“If I could be able to keep records for my business, I could probably be able to see how much money I spend and get in return. Another issue is that I did not have start-up capital so I often use household income to buy new stock for my tuckshop.” Simelane said.
Muzi Yende, a communication specialist who was also a judge in this category, urged participants to take the advice from the judges very seriously in order to have better businesses going forward.

“We are not discouraging you with our comments; we are empowering you to be able to prepare for a better future of your businesses. When you go back home, I want you to implement the things mentioned as comments here as they will help your businesses,” the adjudicator concluded.

Phindile Mavimbela’s budding business, Forever Young, is a living proof of innovation. Forever Young, a support club for widows in Siteki, which is aimed at providing support to widowed women financially and emotionally, is what Phindile dreams of. Mavimbela presented this ideal under Start-up Businesses in the Emerging Entrepreneurs category during the SADC Gender Protocol Summit at the Royal Swazi Convention Centre. The summit attracted many participants from all over Swaziland who showcased their projects in preparation for the Regional Summit to be held in Botswana next month.

What makes Mavimbela’s business attractive is that it provides a solution to some of the challenges encountered by widows as they are generally a stigmatised and marginalised group in every society.

“To support our members, Forever Young will teach women on non-agricultural income generating projects such as producing floor polish. We opted for non-agricultural activities because we are located in an urban area,” Mavimbela said.
Forever Young’s services extend beyond income generating activities. Mavimbela explained, “This club will provide services like trauma counselling, motivational discussions and spiritual support from pastors.” Mavimbela concluded by appreciating the support Mondi Forest and the Pigg’s Peak Member of Parliament (MP) Jabulani Mabuza pledged for her business.

This article is part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news





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