W&RSETA informal traders exchange programme proves a boost for retail SMEs

W&RSETA informal traders exchange programme proves a boost for retail smes
Judy Ndunge News & Updates March 26, 2024

In a graduation held in South Africa on 26th March at Witwatersrand University, Zetech University, and the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) celebrated the successful culmination of their pioneering Informal Traders Exchange Programme – a significant milestone in the upskilling and support of SMEs.

The 111 businesses from South Africa were empowered with essential business management skills focused on technology and innovation and immersed in Nairobi’s booming informal trade to drive the growth of the South African informal retail trade. The journey didn’t end there; participants received six months of invaluable mentorship and financial literacy training from Zetech University to further support their growth plans and aspirations. The W&RSETA also supported them with financial grants to invest in their businesses.

Over the past eight months, the informal traders have undergone a transformative journey of learning, growth, and empowerment as part of the business development and capacitation programme which began in August 2023.

W&RSETA informal traders exchange programme proves a boost for retail smes

Today’s Certification Ceremony and Showcase Event at Wits University provided a platform for participants to share their learnings, the impact of the programme which included new business opportunities, expansions and formalisation; as well as future prospects with esteemed panels comprising senior officials from the W&RSETA, Zetech University, Wits University, and the retail sector. This event not only celebrated individual successes but also underscored the collective impact of collaboration and education in fostering sustainable growth and opportunity.

“As we reflect on the journey thus far, it’s evident that this collaboration has not only empowered informal traders but has also laid the foundation for continued progress and innovation within the Wholesale and Retail Sector. The stories shared today serve as a testament to the transformative power of education, mentorship, and collaborative efforts in driving positive change and economic empowerment” said W&RSETA CEO, Mr Tom Mkhwanazi.

“For a very long time, this category of business, the SMEs has been getting little or no attention. I applaud W&RSETA, led by the CEO Mr. Tom Mkwanazi for identifying this existing gap to empower this category of businesses. It is the convergence of this mutual perspective of both Zetech University and W&RSETA that birthed this program; one of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. The Informal Traders Exchange Program is today certifying 111 business owners, trained, internationally immersed and equipped with the necessary business and entrepreneurial skills critical to running successful enterprises.” Prof. Njenga Munene – Vice Chancellor Zetech University, Kenya.

W&RSETA informal traders exchange programme proves a boost for retail smes

The Deputy Director General for Skills Development at the Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa lauded the programme noting that it is in line with the agenda of Kenya and South Africa in innovating startups and MSMEs in Africa and ensuring the scale-up in an enabling environment for African entrepreneurs to create jobs in Africa because big business is a ripple effect of small business.

The Wits Entrepreneurship Clinic (WEC) is excited to have been part of the team that delivered the training to the informal traders, which aligns with the vision of WEC of increasing entrepreneurial activity in South Africa through easing entrepreneurial entry and empowering individuals through entrepreneurial skills. Edwell Gumbo, Director of WEC said “at the heart of the mission of Wits Entrepreneurship Clinic lies a steadfast commitment to uplifting communities and fostering economic empowerment through targeted training of entrepreneurs and providing access to resources within Wits University.”

Zetech University is working with like-minded organisations, in seeking more partnerships and collaborations in the zeal to empower MSMEs and SMEs in Kenya and Internationally to help them with financial literacy training. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Alice Njuguna, in addition, noted the skills training included, entrepreneurship and innovation training, business planning, digital marketing, and business automation.

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