Strengthening Grassroot Entrepreneurship

SEDCO has been facilitating entrepreneurship training that is sponsored by the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) under its capacity-building project titled “The Microfinance Ecosystem Focusing on Grassroots Women”.

The project aims to enhance the ability of community-based microfinance institutions in providing microfinance services to grassroots women. At a closing ceremony held at Mananga College in Ezulwini, which was attended by SEDCO’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Khethiwe Mhlanga and dignitaries from ICF, Mhlanga encouraged the participants to reach out to SEDCO for assistance with running their small enterprises. “Our doors are open to you, please feel free to reach out to us for any assistance related to developing and growing your businesses”, said Mhlanga. The CEO further applauded the women for their diligence and dedication to providing for their families. In regards to SWASA standards and certification, Mhlanga promised that SEDCO will consult with SWASA to organise standards and quality management training for the entrepreneurs.

The participants are small-scale producers of household goods and food products including liquid soap, floor polish, petroleum jelly, peanut butter and atchara. 

Addressing dignitaries from ICDF, Mhlanga said SEDCO appreciates their support in empowering women in Eswatini because women are the pillar of our communities. “Women are the pillar of our society, they drive the economic growth in our communities and ensure that families and the entire community is provided for,” said Mhlanga.

TSFT Director, Sue congratulated the participants for completing their training and applauded them for being focused and dedicated throughout the week of training.  She further praised SEDCO for always facilitating the training in a professional manner and for ensuring that the objectives of the project are met.

In the ceremony, it was also revealed that the participants come from rural communities in Mafutseni and Mahlangatsha and they have registered a cooperative and are ready to start trading. According to ICDF, it is expected that at the end of the project, grassroots women entrepreneurs will have a deeper understanding of access, usage, and management of financial services, as well as innovative skills for doing business effectively and efficiently.

A speaker who was assigned to speak on behalf of the participants said the participants truly appreciate IDCF for giving them the opportunity to be capacitated on business management skills. “We are just small-scale producers, we didn’t have any idea on how to properly run a business and how to manage business finances so this training course has been a great eye opener for us,” she said. She further praised SEDCO’s Training Manager, Mr Sibusiso Musi for being a patient and dedicated trainer.

The speaker said as participants they would like SEDCO to take them under their wing and provide them with business coaching and mentoring so that they can steer their business ventures in the right direction.

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.

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.