Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Opinion

Perseverance despite lockdown: Cheering on our strong Woman SMMEs this woman’s month.

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By Karabo Dhlamini, SAICA Enterprise Development and The Hope Factory, August 2020.

It is no surprise that a lot of businesses have been affected negatively by the pandemic, some even forced to shut down. According to the national #CombatCovid survey that was taken in April 2020; 73% of small businesses state that their businesses will not survive another extension of the lockdown. Five months later the effect of lockdown is still a major challenge faced by a number of business owners in the country. Despite that, some businesses have been working hard and as a result are doing fairly well, surprisingly enough.

In celebration of women’s month, we are honoring a few of our female entrepreneurs who have risen above the challenges during the pandemic.SAICA Enterprise Development and The Hope Factory launched COVID-19 Business Resilience initiatives,that aim to help SMMEs navigate their strengths and weaknesses during these uncertain times, by providing the necessary financial coaching and advisory support-enabling them to access applicable funding and become compliant.
Bernadette Koert, The Hope Factory’s SED Programmes Manager comments, “We are so very proud of all our female individuals on our programme, shout out to our ladies this woman’s month! I want to commend all our entrepreneurs, men and woman, across all our programmes and projects for their commitment and investment of time into our Covid-19 resilience initiatives toward business
sustainability during this difficult Covid-19 time. It is so necessary to create hope and perseverance toward the future.

Covid-19 has pushed us all to be creative and innovative for survival, together we
won’t let the pandemic get us down, we look forward to a positive future.”
Maria Mokgoro Phefadu owner of Mokgoroac Lepoka Trading and Projects PTY LTD in the construction
industry, shares about her personal challenges with losing clients due to the pandemic. She says, “People are afraid to do anything new because they do not know what will happen tomorrow. Being on the SAICA ED Programme, has helped us to have access to resources, which enabled me to think outside the box.

I have applied the knowledge I gained from the programme and added an additional service offering which is COVID-19 Disinfection and PPE supply.”
The Khulisa iBiznis programme has helped Maria create a second source of income which helps her
business to remain sustainable. Zanele Hobongwana owner of Swazi Tutor Academy also shares her journey and agility through this time. Swazi Tutor Academy offers Grades 7-12 Mathematics and Science tutoring to second chance matric learners and TVET students in the Nelson Mandela Bay area in Eastern Cape. Her business was interrupted and experienced a downfall, she had to change to a new normal which is not quite easy for this type of business and that meant having to find new clients that are willing to adapt and who can afford the costs that go along with online learning.

“The Hope Factory Qalisa Programme helped me to become a critical thinker and introduced me to
different approaches to maintain and sustain my business. I am very thankful to The Hope Factory for their support, having professional coaches who are willing to help in any way to make sure that my business does not fail” says Zanele. She is now happy to report that she is back in business!

Another female entrepreneur who has been through numerous challenges but has received much
needed intervention and support, is Nwabisa Makumele. Nwabisa is the founder of Lumamu Consulting, a Marketing and Communications Agency based in Kempton Park, Gauteng. She is currently on the Flagship programme at SAICA ED.

Along with many other SMME’s, some of the hard challenges that Nwabisa faced during our national
lockdown includes losing her mainstream income, as well as needing to let go of an employee.
Nonetheless she continues to show grit and passion to reignite her business. Nwabisa says, “the support I received from my finance coach has been amazing. The SAICA ED team immediately reached out and gave my business the support it needed.” Nwabisa was one of the selected SMMEs on boarded onto an additional business development intervention that focuses on training of Business Strategy Development, Business and Finance Coaching.

It’s amazing how to this day women still face so many adversities and yet continue to rise above the challenges. They continue to do extraordinary work for themselves their families and for future women who might want to follow in their footsteps. SAICA ED and The Hope Factory celebrates these amazing women owned SMMEs in their respective industries. When you strike a woman, you strike a rock!

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