Ten West Coast entrepreneurs, six of which are women, have been hand-picked to receive training, mentoring and funding to help grow their businesses through an SMME Accelerator programme. While the business owners have different stories and ambitions, they all display a tremendous grit and resilience to keep pushing through, despite the circumstances and red tape they face in their businesses.
Umoya Energy Wind Farm, located 125 km north of Cape Town on the R45 in the Saldanha Bay Municipality in the Western Cape province, has provided seed capital, often in the form of equipment financing, to the entrepreneurs as well as other support which will continue for the 12-month period that the programme runs.
The programme is in partnership with the Saldanha Bay Municipality and aims to assist local enterprises to move from being survivalist businesses to formal sustainable SMMEs. Through the programme, these business people receive coaching and mentoring, access to market opportunities through supplier days and networking events and business registration and formalisation.
“We are heartened by local entrepreneurs like Lizzie Nomathamsanqa Kopi from LeeJ, who has started taking driving lessons. She is also using the equipment which we funded to diversify her services and although she can’t read or write, she is now using WhatsApp voice notes to communicate,” says Celiwe Mabaso, the community operations manager for Umoya Energy Wind Farm.
Beneficiary Lusapho Thubeni, from Lukhanyolwethu Technologies, has a similar story to tell, already demonstrating the impact that this business programme has had on his business. “My business has grown exponentially. With the desktop computers I received, I am going to offer computer training to the community. I will also conduct computer training for co-beneficiaries from the programme in April, among other initiatives which support my community,” he says.
Umoya Energy Wind Farm’s economic development approach is to empower and strengthen its communities through capacity building, skills transfer and funding of various beneficiary programmes.
The aim of building communities’ capacity through the funding of various socio-economic development programmes, is to positively address local skills gaps and needs, and empower the communities to be economically independent and take ownership of their future. The approach is characterised by continuous engagement, the sharing of knowledge and experience and a focus on relevance and practical projects. Umoya Energy Wind Farm generates approximately 176 600 MWh of clean renewable energy every year.
Contact Umoya Energy, Tel 021 670-1400, email@example.com