Community-based businesses play a vital role in the social and economic development of KwaZulu-Natal, which is popular for its diverse culture and economic disparities. These small businesses, often operating on a small scale, are deeply rooted in their local communities and provide a number of benefits that would otherwise not be available if they were not servicing these areas.

Rooted in KwaZulu-Natal, Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), recognises the role that these enterprises play in and around communities. TSAM recently embarked on a community development initiative that has taken ten small business entrepreneurs from the community of Eston in the Umbumbulu area, to undergo a fully sponsored, rigorous business development program that spans over ten months. This initiative is run by Raizcorp, who are known for world-class business incubation and business acceleration programs.

“Recognising and supporting community-based enterprises is crucial for the continued growth and sustainability of the KwaZulu-Natal community. TSAM and Raizcorp understand the vital role of mentorships and together we have ensured that this is a key component of the program,” says Jacqui Simonsen from Raizcorp.

“My initial expectation was that this would be a classroom-style program, but in fact, has proven to be very practical, engaging and value-adding to my business and day-to-day operations,” says Nhlakanipho Hlongwa of Wiseman Nhlekzin (Pty) Ltd about their experience.

Running a business, no matter how big or small comes with daily challenges, ranging from a lack of access to finance to a lack of access to land. While for those operating in the farming space, the day-to-day challenges include theft of crops due to inadequate fencing structures, livestock destroying their crops, and the absence of an irrigation system. Amidst all these challenges, the entrepreneurs are determined to rise above and be a beacon of hope in the community.

“I never used to keep records in my business, but now I am able to put together a cash flow statement, all thanks to the financial management module. Through this program I have built business relationships and have used this program as part of a peer-to-peer support system,” concludes Veronica Shozi of Iphunga Elimnandi (Pty) Ltd.