INITIATIVE AIMED AT WOMEN IN TOWNSHIP ECONOMY
Woodlands Dairy has launched its Umthombo Enterprise Development Initiative, a platform to create economic and social growth opportunities for women in the township economy. The project addresses the greatest challenges facing women owned businesses including access to funding, education and spatial inequality.
Says Marisa Maccaferri, Marketing Manager for Woodlands Dairy and First Choice: “There is no better time than now to invest in the revitalisation of the economy, specifically the township economy. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on this economy and an initiative to invest in female-owned micro enterprises will provide a valuable lifeline and community goodwill, whilst creating a product distribution network for our First Choice products.”
The pilot, which has kicked off, aims to mobilise and empower ten female hawkers over a period of ten months by distributing and selling First Choice products. e-WD and Betsy Ings are the implementing partners of this initiative in the Nelson Mandela Bay district townships.
Says Ings, managing member of e-WD “e-WD’s vision is to make a sustainable, quantifiable impact on the economy by promoting viable growth for small enterprises with a focus on women and youth entrepreneurs. Together our passion lies in enterprise and socio-economic development solutions for public and private ventures that we know can make a positive difference in the world. The pilot project will provide an opportunity to design and co-create an enterprise development model to replicate and scale to other regions, as well as create opportunities to establish essential public, civic and community partnerships.”
Ings continues that their aim is to offer Woodlands Dairy the opportunity to engage and get to know the person and community behind the beneficiary business, as well as create valuable ambassadors. “e-WD researched and identified potential sites to launch the pilot project where suitable hawkers are presently trading with an existing and diverse customer base. Sites were explored in Motherwell, Zwide and Dora Nginza Hospital. Suitable hawkers (micro enterprises) and two potential distributors were identified and engaged, conducting a needs assessment and exploring potential scope.”
According to Ings, the hawkers have very little access to finance and very few assets due to a lack of collateral for financing options. “The situational analysis performed by e-WD found the hawkers to be working in sub-standard, very basic conditions and exposed to the harsh elements. Besides the programme, Woodlands Dairy will also assist with basic elements to facilitate the day to day operations of the hawkers.”
The pilot project was started in May this year and currently has eleven women participating. “A range of Woodlands Dairy’s First Choice products are provided to these women including cheese, milk, MILKI, High Protein Recovery, Kick, and more. They are able to establish their own retail prices and sell on to other businesses or the public. They know best what their clientele can afford. Currently the fermented products like Amasi are the best-sellers.”
Ings adds that the buy in from hawkers since day one has been phenomenal. “It has given them hope and inspired them to invest in themselves and use this period as a season of growth both personally and for their business, families and community. They’re real eager beavers and it’s heart-warming to see them succeed. We currently have one distributor and community coordinator and ten hawkers. Eleven businesses and 132 community members are benefitting.”
According to Maccaferri, the Umthombo Enterprise Development Initiative meets Woodlands Dairy’s ethos to honour their commitment to their stakeholders by ensuring growth and prosperity for all, based on people, product, processes, sustainability and the environment. She concludes: “We’re very excited to be involved and would like to thank e-WD, Betsy Ings and the ladies for making us part of their development journey.”