SEDCO in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce’s MSME Unit facilitated a five-day entrepreneurship workshop sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), for youth entrepreneurs.
Giving remarks at the ceremony, SEDCO’s CEO, Ms Khethiwe Mhlanga encouraged participants to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired from the training so that their businesses can grow and be sustainable. “The knowledge you have gained in this training is an investment to your businesses because the skills you have acquired will help you to correct some of the mistakes that you have made which will make your businesses more sustainable”, she said.
Mhlanga also encouraged the participants to reach out to SEDCO at any point in their entrepreneurial journey because SEDCO offers an array of services and products for SMEs. “When you start to feel like your business is in trouble and you need some business advice, please visit SEDCO. We have qualified business coaches and counsellors that will help guide you and point you in the right direction” she said.
SEDCO also supports entrepreneurs with registering companies, attaining trading licences, developing viable business plans and applying for funding, business incubation, marketing and recently, developing websites and company emails.
MSME Acting Director Philisa Dlamini said their financing model includes financial literacy training which aims to equip young entrepreneurs with financial management and recordkeeping skills. Dlamini also mentioned that government has established various financial schemes to assist MSMEs, especially those owned by the youth to attain funding. She mentioned the Small Scale Enterprise Loan Guarantee Scheme (SSELGS), the Regional Development Fund (RDF), the E45 Million MSME Revolving Fund housed at Eswatini Bank, the Informal Traders Revolving Fund (ITRF) housed at FINCORP, and the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF).
Dlamini further encouraged the participants to come together and collaborate because this places them in a better position of securing grants from financial schemes like the Regional Development Fund. She also encouraged them to advocate for government to improve the business environment and to implement existing policies. “As business people you have the power to influence the business environment in the country, you just need to be proactive and approach us as government to make your requests” said Dlamini.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Sibusiso Dlamini appreciated SEDCO for the informative training and requested that SEDCO conducts an aftercare programme. “We would like to request that SEDCO checks up on us after this workshop and assists us with securing funding and implementing what we have learned in this workshop.
The training modules included business awareness, survival budgeting, causes of business failure, Importance of record-keeping, financial statements, marketing, business planning, risk management costing and pricing and sources of finance.