SITEKI – Tanele Dlamini yesterday scooped the Regional Winner Award during the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for the Lubombo Region event held at the Siteki Hotel.
The 34-year-old businesswoman of Siphofaneni also scooped the Most Improved Award during the event that was attended by other businesspeople from the region.
Tanele is a beauty boutique and supply business and has recently ventured into property development around Siphofaneni Town.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Trade championed this event with the support of stakeholders such as FNB Eswatini, Eswatini National Provident Fund (ENPF), FINCORP, and Small Enterprise Development Company (SEDCO).
Also winning during the event in the Agribusiness category was Eswatini Vegetable owner Ngangelive Gule, Siphiwe Simelane of SOMCO Investment, trading as Makhoba General Supplies under the Youth category, and Nozipho Dlamini of Moving Forward in the Retail category.
Thabisile Matsenjwa of Sebengetekile company won under the Women-Owned category and Reginnah Mlilo of R & J Fruits and Vegetable won under the Street Vendor category.
All the winners received trophies and appreciation certificates, which were handed over by Cebile Nhlabatsi, who was representing the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo, Director of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Mluleki Dlamini and SEDCO Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Khethiwe Mhlanga.
Nhlabatsi congratulated the winners and further urged other small businesses to enter the competition next year.
“I am so glad to recognise and award MSMEs who have demonstrated remarkable entrepreneurial qualities in this region. The Lubombo Region is important for the economic well-being of the country, as it accounts for 18 percent of the 59 000 MSME owners in the country.
“We acknowledge that this is the region that produces the ‘Eswatini Gold’ and thus also contributes immensely to our export revenue and the employment of a large population of our people. Furthermore, industries in the Lubombo Region have been instrumental in creating value chains, which diversify the economy and create an inclusive ecosystem,” she said.
Nhlabatsi thanked the sponsors of the event for aligning themselves with promoting the growth of MSMEs as they were the key drivers of the economy.
“Through these awards, we have over the years been able to uncover exceptional businesses, which have demonstrated incomparable leadership and innovativeness in their business. Since the introduction of the regional awards, we have seen an increase in the number of entrants. This validates our proposition that taking the awards beyond the urban corridor of Manzini-Mbabane is necessary to advance the agenda of entrepreneurship development in the country,” Nhlabatsi remarked.
More so, she also noted that some of the categories had improved.
Nhlabatsi added that the entrants who were not just in primary production, but rather in value-added manufacturing, demonstrated improvement in their business categories.
She noted that the MSME sector was anticipated to provide employment opportunities for the rapidly growing labour force and to lead economic activities in various sectors.
SEDCO CEO said the Lubombo Region accounts for 19 percent of the awards’ applicants this year and that the percentage was higher than in past years.
Mhlanga said this was encouraging because it showed that people from this region were venturing into entrepreneurship as a way of making a living as well as creating employment in the region.
The CEO stated that SEDCO had an incubation centre in Siteki and another at Vuvulane.
“I would like to engage the office of the RA to explore ways in which we can collaborate in this region which carries such tremendous potential. SEDCO remains committed to supporting and celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship and professional excellence. We look forward to witnessing your continued growth and success while contributing to the country’s development,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the Lubombo Regional Administrator (RA) Themba Msibi was Phathizwe Zwane, who appealed to the developed businesses in the region to work hand-in-hand with the small businesses for growth purposes.
Interviewed about her success in scooping two awards, Tanele narrated that she started as a vendor and developed her business to be a cosmetic boutique shop owner.
“Now I am venturing into property development and have bought land around Siphofaneni Town to build rental flats,” she said.