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MTN Eswatini and the Small Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO) have contributed towards the Government Strategic Roadmap 2019-2013 through the MTN-SEDCO Cija Ngebhizinisi Radio Programme, where they awarded five SMEs with seed capital worth E50 000. These were given E10 000 each. The programme aligns with Government Strategic Roadmap 2019-2023, which outlines the interventions that the Government wishes to focus on as a matter of priority to stimulate economic activity and reverse the current unfavorable financial situation in the country. Encouraging the participants who were selected to attend the in-house entrepreneurship training, SEDCO Managing Director Dorrington Matiwane said they should continue running their business no matter what obstacles they came across.

Matiwane was speaking during the MTN-SEDCO Cija Ngebhizinisi Awards Ceremony at the SEDCO Headquarters. The aim of the programme is to support upcoming entrepreneurs with an assortment of skills. To qualify for the seed capital, the participants were expected to tune on EBIS and take note of certain buzzwords. They then used the buzzwords as entry to the competition. From 41 entries, 22 businesses were then selected and were visited by the competition judges. “It did not take much science to realise that the radio medium would be the most effective tool for achieving this goal,” he said. The MTN Foundation endorsed the concept of the programme that was therefore conceived to address the challenge of ensuring maximum participation. Matiwane further stated that the desire was to make access to basic entrepreneurship training possible to the entire SME population of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

According to the FinScope survey in 2017, only 11% of the 59 000 SME owners surveyed reported having attended formal training in business management. Most of them, 46%, stated that they were self-taught to run their businesses. It is, therefore, not surprising that 58% of them reported that they do not keep any financial records. “I am glad that the programme emphasized the importance of proper business management as this leads to growth from start-up to micro, to small, to medium and to large enterprises. MTN Eswatini Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sibusiso Nhleko said MTN Foundation was particularly passionate about the empowerment of young people through education and enterprise development skills. “In part, MTN Foundation supported this initiative because it is consistent with one of its pillars – youth enterprise development, “added Nhleko. In conclusion, the CEO said the MTN Foundation was grateful for the positive response from upcoming entrepreneurs, which was seen throughout the implementation of the project.

First published in the Times of Eswatini on 4 April 2019.

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