MUT trains 10 more Social Entrepreneurs

Ntombifuthi Mthembu, standing, second from left, with Dr Simon Taylor and Dr Lungani Makhathini, first and second from right, respectively, also standing, and the Champions

In 2024 MUT will add 10 Social Entrepreneurs to the 22 the University has trained in the last few years. These Social Entrepreneurs are from Ugu, Ilembe and eThekwini District Municipalities. The Social Entrepreneurs were chosen through a rigorous interview process. Lead Facilitator from MUT, Ntombifuthi Mthembu, who is responsible for programme’s entrepreneurship skills, said the 2024 programme would run from March to August. This is the third phase of the KZN Regional and Local Economy Development Initiative. Mthembu said the purpose of the initiative was to develop business skills, “especially enterprises that have a social and environmental impact in their communities.” These Social Entrepreneurs are referred to as “Champions”, Mthembu said.

On 29 February 2024 and 1 March 2024, MUT ran the first two-days a month classes at University’s main campus. Mthembu said the initiative is a collaboration programme between MUT, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Zululand. The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) is the sponsor of the project.

Mthembu said MUT’s participation in this programme builds sustainable external relationships and enhances relationships with communities as part of the MUT’s Anchor Strategy. The initiative is in line with the KZN Government’s Township and Rural Economies Revitilisation Strategy (TRERS). MUT as an institution of higher learning contributes a lot towards the implementation of this strategy.

Mthembu said the classes, which are in hybrid mode, are conducted over two days in a month for the duration of the programme. She said that to this date, MUT has trained 22 Social Entrepreneurs from different sectors and continues to play a coaching and mentoring role to these organisations. “To minimise disruptions, some classes are held over the weekend. At the end of the programme trained Champions present their business plans to a team of evaluators and potential funders”, said Mthembu.

Present at this year’s first session was the Regional Local Economic Development Project Manager, based at UKZN, and a leader of the programme, Dr Simon Taylor, and Dr Lungani Makhathini from the MUT’s Department of Accounting and Law. Dr Makhathini handles the financial section of the programme. The University’s Community Engagement and Development (CEAD) plays a monitoring role for this project.

The trainees, who are company owners, were very appreciative of the programme. The owner of Enzakahle Consulting, Wendy Portia Ngcobo, said the training would assist them to reflect on how they run the company, so the company could grow in impact and financially, and to introduce monitoring and evaluation.

Zinhle Madela, founder of HeArt Prints, said the first two days of training “have been so impactful, resourceful, and effective to me and my business. Learning about being a Social Entrepreneur and how exclusive it is to be one, has influenced me to work harder for greater positive change for my community”.  Madela said her company is an umbrella of creatives which involves artists, craftsmen, and women through different organisations. They sell products and provide service that preserves and promotes the beauty of the Zulu culture.