Creators of local wealth honoured by Ithala 

Published: Monday, August 29, 2016

Amidst the stifling plight of township and rural business women, the tradition of recognising ordinary women on a public platform for their outstanding contribution to the economy and local communities is like a breath of fresh air. The 2016 Imbokodo Iyazenzela Women in SMME Awards hosted by Ithala Development Finance Corporation in Durban on 27 August 2016, paid tribute to three exceptional women who have defied all odds to take centre stage as KwaZulu-Natal’s local heroes.

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The programme, which was piloted in 2015 and reached over 2 400 women in 16 towns across KZN, served as a platform to address the bottlenecks preventing aspiring business women from reaching their full potential.

Statistics from the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor revealed that only 6.2 percent of South African adult women are involved in entrepreneurship, down from nine percent the previous year. This, despite women making up about 50 percent of the world population and 40 percent of the global workforce.

The National Development Plan's vision by 2030 is to achieve long-term accelerated economic growth whilst also reducing unemployment and inequality and helping to create a more inclusive society.

Imbokodo Iyazenzela or “Women doing it for themselves” aims to empower women from all walks of life, with the necessary skills, knowledge and opportunities to enable their business dreams, underpinned by Ithala’s three pillars viz. Hope, Access and Opportunity.

The agency’s purpose is to deliver development and empowerment solutions and encourage participation in all sectors of the economy, including and especially the historically disadvantaged members of society, through employment creation, skills transfer and training.

“Rural and township business women need to be enabled through self-empowerment - not dependence, particularly at a time when entrepreneurship is considered to be a critical success factor in township revival and rural development,” said Yvonne Zwane, Ithala Group Chief Executive. 

“Entrepreneurship in these areas has immense potential to create jobs in the wake of unemployment being at an all-time high. It is also a means to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities, sustain a healthy economic environment and contribute meaningfully to the province’s GDP.”

Twenty finalists, competing against other KZN candidates, were nominated by women who attended the workshops and were adjudicated by an independent panel.

In a moment of adulation and pride, Phumzile Ntuli, owner of Qalekhaya Co-operative in Eshowe was declared the overall winner for making her mark in the manufacturing and farming sector.

In second position was Duduzi Ncanana of Just Meats Butchery in Mandeni.

Mbali Shinga of Ubuhle Bozalo Cleaning Services and Supermarket in Mthwalume on KZN’s South Coast scooped third position.

“Acknowledging entrepreneurship as a key development factor on its own will not accelerate township revival and rural development. What is needed are interventions that will stimulate, support and enable entrepreneurship in these areas,” added Zwane.

“Such interventions must encourage women to stay and contribute to wealth creation in their own communities, particularly young women tempted to venture out in search of better prospects only to end up in the unemployment line. 

“Identifying local opportunities, coupled with access to information and business skills could transform their lives and revitalise township and rural areas in general.”

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


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