Ten West Coast entrepreneurs, six of which are women have been hand-picked to receive training, mentoring and funding to help grow their businesses through an SMME Accelerator programme.  Whilst the business owners have different stories and ambitions they all display a tremendous grit and resilience to keep pushing through, despite the circumstances and red tape they face in their businesses.

Umoya Energy Wind Farm has provided seed capital, often in the form of equipment financing, to the entrepreneurs as well as other support that will continue for the 12-month period that the programme runs.
The programme is in partnership with the Saldanha Bay Municipality and aims to assist local enterprises to move from being survivalist businesses to formal sustainable SMMEs. Through the programme they receive coaching and mentoring, access to market opportunities through supplier days and networking events, business registration and formalization.
“We are heartened by local entrepreneurs like Lizzie Nomathamsanqa Kopi from LeeJ, who has started taking driving lessons. She is also using the equipment that we funded to diversify her services and although she can’t read or write, she is now using WhatsApp voice notes to communicate,” Celiwe Mabaso, Community Operations Manager for Umoya Energy Wind Farm.
Lizzi LeeJ crop
Beneficiary Lusapho Thubeni, from Lukhanyolwethu Technologies has a similar story to tell, already demonstrating the impact that this business programme has had on his business.  “Lusapho’s business has grown exponentially.  With the desktop computers he received, he is going to start computer training for the community. He will also be conducting computer training for co-beneficiaries from the programme in April, amongst other initiatives that are supporting his community,” added Mabaso.
Programme Beneficiary SMMEs include:  Shalom Baking, LeeJ, T Maqolo Trading, Malihambe Project Primary C-Operative Limited, Mzamomhle Car Wash and Cleaning, Thembelakuye Trading (Pty) Ltd, HOD Enterprise, Lukanyo Lwethu Technologies, Qhzwekazi Designs, TA SK Installers.
Umoya Energy Wind Farm’s economic development approach is to empower and strengthen its communities through capacity building, skills transfer and funding of various beneficiary programmes.
The aim of building communities’ capacity through the funding of various socio-economic development programmes, is to positively address local skills gaps and needs, and empower the communities to be economically independent and take ownership of their future. The approach is characterised by continuous engagement, the sharing of knowledge and experience, and a focus on relevance and practicality supported projects.