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Over 1400 business owners and would-be entrepreneurs have been empowered to apply their learnings towards developing their own businesses as the curtains closed on “My Business Indaba 2017”.

Delegates took advantage of the two-day workshops hosted by Ithala Development Finance Corporation to enrich themselves with inspirational talks, advice, direction and opportunities for catapulting their business.

The workshops were held at eight locations across KwaZulu-Natal - Newcastle, Empangeni, Harding, Port Shepstone, Jozini, Manguzi, Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

The programme is aligned with government’s agenda to promote socio-economic transformation and financial inclusion to advance ordinary South Africans.

“The response to the workshops has been phenomenal with some venues packed to capacity. Such is the enthusiasm of people to elevate their businesses,” said Sitandiwe Dimba, Ithala’s Corporate Social Investment Co-ordinator.

“We thrive on our catalytic role to develop township enterprises, co-operatives and SMMEs to revitalize township economies.”

Sindisiwe Mankahla, owner of Sindi M. Cakes in Lamontville south of Durban, found out about the workshops through the media.

“As a budding business owner I decided to attend the workshops to enrich my knowledge of doing business,” she said.

Mankahla’s bakery business was established in 2016 and she plans to expand her offerings to catering and decor once a solid clientele has been established. She said she would recommend existing and aspirant business owners to attend such workshops as they were enlightening.

Samkelisiwe Mbhele owns an online boutique which houses intimate wear for plus-sized women. She believes all women deserve to look and feel beautiful but realised that retail stores had limited size options for bigger women. Her company, Femmebelle Boutique, was established in response to this need.

After learning about the workshops on Ithala’s Instagram page, she decided to attend to see what it could offer her. She said “always having your business documents in order and not limiting yourself when it comes to your business” were among some of her learnings.

Her dream is to own boutiques all over KZN and to establish a household brand in the plus size intimate wear industry. “I was very impressed by the workshops and I think they covered all aspects of business management from inception to maintaining a successful business,” she said. Refilwe Nerinda who received a text message informing her about the workshop said: “The sessions were very informative and the programme covered everything a business owner needed to know about ensuring a lucrative business.”

Nerinda is the owner of Heaven on Earth Enterprise, a company which manufactures building blocks in Umbumbulu, south-west of Durban. She registered the company in 2014 but only started fully operating in 2015. She hopes to one day have a footprint in hardware stores across KZN. Ithala expressed gratitude and appreciation to the strategic partners for their relentless efforts to ensure the success of “My Business Indaba”.

Nikiwe Mkhonza from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) said: “My role as a NYDA representative is to travel around the province to meet and interact with young people, identify their needs and advise them on programmes from which they could benefit.

“Our offering is holistic and we provide direct services to the youth through the provision of information, career guidance, mentorship, skills development and training, entrepreneurial development and support, health awareness and participation in sport."

“Platforms such as ‘My Business Indaba’ are invaluable to helping us engage with the youth, share information and, most importantly, network with other partners.”

Themba Kunene from the Ugu District’s Small Business Enterprise Development Agency said: “We are an agency that operates under the Department of Trade and Industry and provide business development and support services to small enterprises through a national network.

“We also implement programmes which target business development in areas prioritised by government. Partnering with Ithala has created a platform for us to extend our services offerings to those who can benefit."

“We assist entrepreneurs with business feasibility studies and evaluation. Business sustainability and growth is crucial to building a thriving SMME economy and, as part of our offering, our business clients are allowed five interventions over a three-year period, where we will intercede to provide further support and advice to ensure the enterprise stays on track.”

For more information on Ithala visit or or call 031 907 8911.


Issued by: Ithala Development Finance Corporation 29 Canal Quay Road, Point Waterfront, Durban

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