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Kwanalu WYRE aims to strengthen rural economy with entrepreneurship

Targeting the chronic unemployment rate in the province by boosting micro-economies within the rural and agricultural areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the KZN Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, has embarked on economic rejuvenation through training of over 1500 women and youth with practical entrepreneurial and financial skills as part of the Unions’ Women and Youth Rural Entrepreneurship (WYRE) initiative.


Kwanalu’s WYRE, a non-profit initiative, was launched in October 2021 as response to dire consequences the July 2021 looting had on the economies of rural towns across the province.


“Contrary to what is believed, the looting and rioting was not only centred in the larger cities and towns, but also in smaller communities in KZN. We at Kwanalu are solution-orientated, and from our years’ of working in the rural sector, we identified that poverty and lack of skills was not a top down solution but one that can only be truly reversed if we commit to a sustained programme that supports people throughout the entire entrepreneurial process,” said Kwanalu CEO, Sandy La Marque.


With the vision of providing women and youth in rural areas with the real and easily implementable tools, mentorship, networks and resources to start their own businesses, and empower others to do the same, WYRE has been providing training to the communities of Msinga, Greytown, New Hanover, Matimatola, Eshane, Muden, KwaNyuswa, Embo, Molweni, KwaNgcolosi, Pietermaritzburg, Ulundi, Msunduzi, Vryheid, Port Shepstone, Mahlabatini, and Paddock.


WYRE’s entrepreneurial business training has provided a virtual Micro Business Administration course by Trident Institute and accredited Services SETA training for previously disadvantaged youth from the Emdo community in Hillcrest.


The four-day  micro business administration course aims to empower emerging rural entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully start or improve their own businesses by focusing on practical entrepreneurial skills such as market investigation, buying stock for business, costing and pricing for traders, producers and service providers, selling, writing a business plan, weekly money management and stock control. Learners who have demonstrated their application of what they have learned are awarded a diploma.


“The objective is to give as many people as possible the basic skills to enable them to start or improve their own businesses. People must be empowered to take responsibility for their own economic destinies, instead of waiting to be rescued,” said Cedric Buffler, CEO of the Trident Institute.


“The course made rural development a real possibility for me, especially the modules on costing and pricing, and money flow management. If you get those right when running a small business in a township or rural community, I don’t think anything will stop you,” said student, Glantine Mashile.


By providing Services SETA entrepreneurial and NQF Level 4 training in Hillcrest, WYRE has also been empowering youth in the Embo community with entrepreneurial skills needed to become self-sufficient. Facilitated by Vision in Motion, the New Venture Creation training takes place over 10 months and focuses on providing entrepreneurship and general administration, production and operations, finance and communication accredited skills.


“I believe that this course is going to take me very far in terms of knowledge, how to research, and manage finances. I have learnt so much and want to use it to grow my business as a disk jockey at events,” said student, Xolani Gamede from Embo, near Hillcrest, Durban.


I am astounded by the resilience of rural youth and women in their attempt to create a living for themselves in whichever way they can. I am pleased that the young people involved in this programme have demonstrated character and thankfulness for the opportunities provided. They hustle every day to make a living,” said WYRE Project Manager, Kathy Hurly.


“We are delighted by the success of the programme so far and look forward to assisting many more women and youth in all areas of rural KZN in starting their entrepreneurial journey, growing their businesses, creating employment in their communities and inspiring others to do the same,” said La Marque.


Kwanalu welcomes businesses and individuals wanting to get involved through funding and invites them to get in touch with WYRE Project Manager, Kathy Hurly on WYRE@kwanalu.co.za


For more information on Kwanalu visit www.kwanalu.co.za or call (033) 342 9393