A financial lifeline has been provided to seven local SMMEs, by REISA’s Business Development Incubation Hub, in Kathu, to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these enterprises are youth-owned and directly supported by the development hub, which services the communities in the Gamagara Municipal area, including Kathu, Olifantshoek, Dibeng, Siyathemba, Babatas and Mapoteng.

These entrepreneurs continued with their business development training via an online platform during the lockdown period.  The programme is providing all beneficiaries in the business incubation, with the necessary support and skills needed to navigate unpredictable economic downturns, such as the current impact of COVID.

The funding which has been provided is being used to purchase machinery and equipment, as well as for working capital that is especially necessary in the current depressed economy. In addition to funding, the Business Hub which serves the community in partnership with Raizcorp, provided its flagship entrepreneurship course as well as skills training focused on Marketing and Sales; and a Finance module, which teaches the fundamentals of business finances.

One of the beneficiaries, Nosipho Makine from Lebonolo Holdings, spoke of the devastating impact that the lockdown had on turnover, as well as the positive impact that the funding had on ensuring that salaries and other costs could be covered.  “The grant funding has assisted to cover some running expenses and has helped increase our assets. Plus, the Business Hub’s training and support has helped us to align the business to Government regulations, in addition to the training that we received to help us manage our business through online platforms,  making ourselves more relevant to our market,” added Nosipho.

“The impact of COVID has made our Business Hub even more relevant for local SMME’s, considering that the aim is to increase the odds by providing unique, adaptable, functional and feasible programmes for entrepreneurs at various developmental stages and to create an enabling environment where enterprises can learn to operate efficiently, understand the legislation that governs their industries and ultimately expand their services,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Regional Community Operations Manager for REISA.

Another Hub beneficiary and recipient of the additional COVID funding, Namekhotha Trading’s owner Khotso Sekhobo, said the funding came at the right time. “We needed to buy some equipment to establish a project site and provide the extra income needed to keep the business going.”

The REISA Business Development Hub in Kathu, was launched mid-2019, aimed at accelerating the development of local enterprises and ultimately contributing to job creation for locals. It launched a feasibility study carried out in both the Gamagara Municipality and Kuruman, to fully comprehend the economic landscape of the communities.

This project forms part of REISA’s Enterprise Development Programme, in partnership with Raizcorp, which offers a successful incubator model and acceleration programmes for entrepreneurs.

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