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During season Small the first of the MTN- Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO) ‘Cija Ngebhizinisi’ business training radio programme, 20 start-ups got an opportunity to have a face-to-face training after they were announced winners of the radio business training programme.

After the training, five of these were awarded seed capital worth E10 000 each. All they had to do was tune in each week and watch out for buzzwords which were used as entry to the competition. This week, two of them, Andile Vilakati and Sandile Dlamini share their success stories on how the programme helped their businesses.

Andile Vilakati - Soap Factory

I manufacture soap bars using natural ingredients like essential oils and avocado butter. My products can also be used for aroma therapy. We are also working on manufacturing personalized soaps for hotels and guest houses. But this is still work in progress. I am currently under incubation at the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP).

I started my business last year and it has been the longest 12 months I have ever had in life. For me, I think the E10 000 seed capital was a bonus, what really sharpened my mind was the business training. It came at an opportune time. We have started accepting CVs in preparation for expansion. We want the nation to be able to access our products in all the four regions of the country. In the next 2-5 years, we want to set up a factory and we have already started discussions about setting up a manufacturing plant. We also want to create opportunities for farmers to produce

ingredients such as lemon grass, mint and lavender to support the plant. Our target is to export our products.

From the MTN-SEDCO training, I was able to see all the grey areas in my business. One of them was in record keeping. The training also helped me to understand that records are what any investor want to see and the only language that makes sense to banks.

I really thank MTN and SEDCO for this initiative. It took my business to greater heights. I also used the seed capital to upskill myself and to buy extra stock. All I need now, is support from the nation. I also want to start a Community Health Project in rural areas and I am appealing for assistance, especially from MTN and SEDCO to make this possible.

Sandile Dlamini - Msandi Fruits and Vegs

I have fruit trees; bananas, peaches, mangoes, paw-paws and avocados. I also grow vegetables, especially the best-selling ones like; spinach, cabbages, lettuce and supply supermarkets.

Although I have been in this business for as long as I can remember, I only managed to register it formerly in 2017. I started small by selling peanuts. I then raised enough money to buy a machine for grinding them. From the money I made from this, I then started buying fruit trees. I believe that formalizing my business is one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has presented new business opportunities for my business.

The E10 000 grant from the MTN-SEDCO Cija Ngebhizinisi radio program have really helped me to grow my business and to sustain the two jobs of the people I have employed. I also benefited a lot from the

business training. Before the training, I did not keep records and it was difficult for me to tell whether the business was making a profit or a loss. Ever since I have started keeping records, I see the difference and I am now able to keep my finger on the pulse of my business.

I really thank MTN and SEDCO for the knowledge that I have gained from this program and for the seed capital. I wish others can also benefit from the initiative.

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