KZN Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative takes-off

Seated, from left: Ntombifuthi Mthembu, Lungani Makhathini, and Dr Simon Taylor, and the business people that attended the session

The second phase of MUT’s participation in the KwaZulu-Natal Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative has started. This is a collaborative programme between MUT, UKZN and UniZulu. The project is funded by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA).

Entrepreneurial Coordinator, and Human Resources Lecturer at the University, Ntombifuthi Mthembu, said the purpose of the programme was to develop Social Entrepreneurs’ business skills, especially in enterprises that have a social and environmental impact in their communities. These Social Entrepreneurs are referred to as Champions.

This year, MUT is training 12 Champions, who were chosen through a rigorous interview process. These Champions are from four companies from Ugu District in the south coast of the province, and eight are from eThekwini Municipality. This training programme is scheduled to run from March to August 2023. Mthembu said that classes, which are in hybrid mode, are held over two days in a month for the duration of the programme. To minimize disruptions some classes are held over the weekend. Mthembu said that at the end of the programme Champions will present their business plans to a team of evaluators.

Mthembu said this initiative was part of the University’s Anchor Strategy.

“MUT’s participation in this programme will help build sustainable external relationships and enhance relationships with communities as required in terms of its Anchor Strategy,” said Mthembu.

Mthembu said the KwaZulu-Natal government was now implementing the Township and Rural Economies Revitilisation Strategy (TRERS).

“MUT as an Institution of higher learning is contributing a lot towards the implementation of this strategy,” Mthembu said.

The project is led by Dr Simon Taylor, a Regional Local Economic Development Project Manager based at UKZN. Dr Taylor was part of the training team at MUT on 3 March 2023. Lungani Makhathini, a Lecturer in the University’s Department of Accounting and Law, had a slot on how to handle business finances.