Thembisa entrepreneurs receive certificates for their innovation

Graduate entrepreneurs
Graduate entrepreneurs

By Dumisani Hlatswayo

SME TravelLinks has launched an entrepreneurship incubator programme that nurtures entrepreneurs and graduate start-up ideas to thriving businesses. Entrepreneurs graduating from our incubation programme operate small businesses in Tourism, IT, Art & Crafts, Manufacturing, and Trading. The SME TradeLinks 2021 Incubator Graduation Event was held at the Imbizo Shisanyama Restaurant at the Mall of Thembisa on 27 January 2021. In this event, five entrepreneurs from Thembisa received certificates of completion.

Founded in 2016 by Dr. Salifou Siddo, SME TradeLinks is a black-owned Business Development Services company that provides business development services, mentorship, coaching, incubation, access to markets, and finance to South African small businesses. Dr. Siddo has a demonstrated history of working in leisure, travel, and tourism. He was the founding CEO of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa; he was also CEO at the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) until December 2016, when the mandate of the TEP came to an end. 

 A highlight of the ceremony was undoubtedly the address by the event Guest Speaker, Rita Zwane, popularly known as MaZwane. MaZwane has become a legend in South Africa as a pioneering township entrepreneur with her sights set firmly on empowering and uplifting ordinary South Africans and revitalising the township economy.

 “Her motivational address based on her own experience as an entrepreneur, founder of the successful restaurant, Imbizo Shisanyama, uplifted our spirits and provided real food for thoughts in terms of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur,” Dr. Siddo told The Olifants News.

The recipients of the certificates were Sibusiso Skhosana, who runs 1632 Crafts, Kagiso Vilankulu owner of Maru IT Solutions; Ncedile Hadebe owner of Entathakusa Trading; Nomaswazi Tinus, the owner of African Mamas Crafts, and Coretta Williams of Coco Tours. Sbusiso Skhosana was elated to receive a certificate one the local entrepreneurs who received a certificate.

“It means that I have a broader understanding of how to manage my company better. Or being part of this program also helped me start relationships with people that I would have never had the chance to meet so easily if I was on my own, and it also means growth and one step further to reaching my goals,” Sbusiso said.

“I can say I have graduated from a hustler to a businessman,” he added. A year ago, Skhosana won the best mqombothi brewer award. He currently owns three businesses: a brewing beer and cider company, a clothing range, and a hiking and tourism company.

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