Project 'to invest in the future'
KHANYISILE Ndwandwe started a poultry project a few years ago and it failed, but she did not give up and now she is about to turn the soil of her new 90 hectare farm.
Ndwandwe,pictured, of Barberton in Mpumalanga, was one of the 10 entrepreneurs who received two cheques totalling to R110000 as this year's winners of the Believe Begin Become programme.
The programme is run by nonprofit organisation TechnoServe in partnership with Standard Bank, which funds it.
After graduating from Lowveld College of Agriculture in 2004, Ndwandwe started a poultry project to implement what she had learnt.
Unfortunately she had an accident and spent more than two months in hospital, so her business failed.
In 2008 Ndwandwe made a breakthrough by getting 90 hectares of land leased to her by the Department of Land Affairs.
The money could not have come at a better time.
"I will buy irrigation equipment, fertiliser and seeds," she said.
Ndwandwe's farm, Sigangeni Farming Project, will grow tomatoes, green and red peppers and baby marrow.
Meanwhile, Sibongile Moloi, of Elukwatini in Mpumalanga, who runs a catering and fashion business, was another winner on the day.
She will use the money to buy two industrial sewing machines and an overlocker.
The programme started in 2007 and Standard Bank has spent R17million to train 240 entrepreneurs from rural areas.
Yesterday, at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, the top 20 entrepreneurs received their awards after a year of training and screening. Entrepreneurs were called to submit business plans through advertisements and road shows.
A selection of 80 candidates were shortlisted, underwent business plan training and 40 went through.
The selected 40 presented their business plans to a panel of business experts and 20 were selected, winning R35000 each.
From the 20 the judges then chose the best 10, who received R75000 each.
"The programme is an investment to the future of our country and we will continue doing it," said Standard Bank chief executive Sim Tshabalala.
TechnoServe's director Earl Sampson said: "We choose entrepreneurs from rural areas because access to such opportunities is less available."