The mandate of a government is to care for all the inhabitants of a country, but its job is made easier when partners come on board to help improve the nation.
Ithala, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial development finance corporation, runs initiatives aimed at enterprise development and mentorship with a keen focus on youth and women. Its flagship programmes are: Siyasebenza, Imbokodo Iyazenzela and Inkunzi’sematholeni Youth in Business.
Siyasebenza is Ithala’s newest initiative, comprising a holistic programme that builds enterprise development through outreach. Siyasebenza means “we are working” in isiZulu.
The group believes that skills development coupled with financing can unleash the entrepreneurial capacity of those who have lacked access to mainstream business capital and services. Siyasebenza aims to facilitate business start-ups that will grow and be sustained to increase income and revitalise communities through job creation.
Siyasebenza comprises a series of sub-programmes for the entrepreneur that empower, uplift and guide them on their journey. These include a School Nutrition Feeding Programme, Micro Finance Programme and Entrepreneur Development Workshops.
Through the School Nutrition Feeding Programme, Ithala funds small, medium and micro enterprises and co-operatives that have been awarded contracts by the Department of Education to supply food to schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
Through its Micro-Finance Programme, Ithala gives short-term liquidity funding of up to R500 000 to businesses that require it. The programme targets small and micro businesses operating their activities on an economical and sustainable scale. It is designed to get informal and micro-businesses to enter the formalised sector of the economy.
Entrepreneur Development Workshops looks at business concept evaluation, training sessions for small, medium and micro enterprises and co-operatives, and motivational workshops.
Through this campaign, Ithala explains, it seeks to uplift communities, empower entrepreneurs, support and guide the youth and promote skills development in an effort to contribute towards job creation and nation-building.
Siyasebenza can play a key role in supporting job creation by building the capacity of enterprise development to help the previously disadvantaged take greater control of their economic lives, move out of poverty, and contribute to local community development.