Proweb empowers young business women

Despite prospects for jobs decreasing every day, 22-year- old Mutsavashe Sango is one of a group of resilient young people who have stopped moaning and taken charge of their own destinies. PAMENUS TUSO reports.

Nosimilo Gwebu

Nosimilo Gwebu

Mutsavashe Sango started a fruit and fresh vegetable vending business about four years ago after completing school. Determined to uplift her business to greater heights, this young, single woman enrolled in Proweb’s Business Women’s Training and Mentor-ship programme in November 2014.

The programme is aimed at strengthening the capacity of women entrepreneurs by giving them information and business skills through structured training that includes entrepreneurship, financial literacy, business proposal development and mentor-ship.

“Before enrolling in the business programme, I was not making much profit from my vending venture. Now, with the business skills acquired from my tutors and my mentor, business is booming. I used to sell small quantities on the streets, but I am now supplying large supermarkets with orders of vegetables and fruit every day,” said Sango in a recent interview.

She now supplies a leading local retail outlet with 100 pockets of 10 kg potatoes at $8,50 a pocket and sother outlets in the city with fresh vegetables and fruit.

Self-confidence
She paid tribute to her mentor to whom she attributes her success: “My mentor taught me many business skills. She also groomed me on how to dress and increased my self- confidence. I am now confident enough to apply for a loan, on my own, from any bank,” said Sango.

As a result of her success, a lot of young people in her neighbourhood are now respectful of her and consider her as a role model.
Another young business woman, Nosimilo Gwebu, also spoke highly of the skills programme. “I was linked to this programme by an acquaintance from church. Before I joined, my accounting and business administration systems were in a shambles,” said Gwebu, who runs a service station in the city.

Since joining the business training programme, she has gained a great deal of knowledge and confidence to effectively run her business. “My staff enrolment has increased from five to nine workers. I am indebted to Proweb for helping me to shape my business. My mentor, Tariro Zidya, was thorough and diligent throughout,” said Gwebu.

Perseverance
Another beneficiary of the programme is Selina Mungombe who runs a general dealer, a baby wear shop and a facial care boutique at Binga centre. She is married to Chief Siyachilaba.

“I travelled, at my own expense, from Binga to Bulawayo every month to attend lessons and to see my mentor. My perseverance finally paid off and many other business people now admire the way I conduct my businesses,” said Mungombe, who also owns a grinding mill.

She has successfully overhauled all her business management systems. “I now receive a salary from the businesses. I have employed a qualified accountant to manage the finances and have acquired computers with the necessary software to effectively manage my business accounts,” she said.

A total of 28 business women from the southern region graduated last week after completing one year of intensive training under this programme jointly supported by Proweb and the UK-based Virgin Unite.

“The Business and Women’s Training and Mentorship programme was designed to address the need for business skills for female entrepreneurs to improve their economic self-reliance, sustainability, business expansion and growth. The programme focuses on activities that build and strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs by providing them with the appropriate training to develop the skills needed to maintain a sustainable enterprise,” said Sithabile Mangwengwende, Proweb’s  Executive director.

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