SMME’S CHANGING THE FACE OF NOUPOORT
A cohort of 28 grantees, comprising of SMME’s, non-profit companies and a non-profit organisation have received business funding since November 2021, as part of a programme designed to mobilise communities to gain control over their lives in an impactful and effective manner. This community SMME acceleration programme is already demonstrating the knock-on effect, proving that it is truly benefitting the Noupoort community as a whole and not only the grantees.
“As community members and consumers, life in Noupoort has become easier because there are products and services available in Noupoort that were not previously obtainable. This means that people do not have to travel out of town for services, which the ABCD Grantees are now providing. Spending less on traveling means that there is more cash for essential purchases. The entrepreneurs have upskilled themselves as business men and women because their goods and services have to match or better what residents purchase out of town,” explained Sandisiwe Mntonintshi, Economic Development Manager of Noupoort Wind Farm, which funds this programme as part of its socio-economic and enterprise development programme.
Grantees sign a six-month contract upon receiving their grant and receive business advisory services during this period, from the grant administrators. This is in addition to monthly monitoring and evaluating sessions. Furthermore, in order to increase the sustainability of these SMME’s, grantees may apply for a second round of funding, upon completion of the first six-month period.
One of the programme’s recipients, received funding from the Noupoort Wind Farm in November 2020, to support a community gardening, landscaping and wood sculpting SMME. This business however, naturally has a quieter period during the cold months, which is why, Diniso Menzi, applied for a second grant, to help build up a small brick manufacturing company, that isn’t seasonal. Considering that he was previously employed in this trade, he already has extensive knowledge of the type of raw materials that are suitable and is now collecting the necessary soil to manufacture his bricks in Noupoort.
His business, Sothembela, employs six people from within the community, which has had a pervasive impact. “The grant received last year from Noupoort Wind Farm has a positive impact as we managed to change the lives of six families who work for us. The business has grown and furthermore, means that locals can source from within Noupoort,” said Diniso Menzo, owner of Sothembela.
All grantees have to undergo Financial Management training. This training enables the grantees to understand cash flow and expenditure statements; analyse financial statements; project funding needs, amongst other key business skills. The programme views monitoring and evaluation as compulsory as it provides crucial evidence with regards to the growth and performance of the business. This is important because the aim is to support businesses and organisations that will be economically feasible and sustainable, with the intention of generating viable jobs or economic growth opportunities.
“Our wind farm is supportive and an enabler of community development programmes that focus on initiatives that are wanted and needed in the community,” concluded Mntonintshi.