Mbabane: MTN Eswatini has spent over E380 000 facilitating training and stimulating engagement between the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) since 2018. This was disclosed during an MTN-convened virtual seminar last week, whose aim was to highlight post-COVID support for SMMEs.
This sustained engagement has been implemented through regional seminars which addressed different subjects of interest to them and brought resource persons to engage with MSMEs.
MTN Eswatini rolled out this initiative alongside PVM Investments run by Phumelele Motsa, Zodwa Mabuza – a Swati based in Ivory Coast – and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade. About 800 MSMEs have been engaged throughout the country through these seminars.
The series of seminars, which started two years ago, initially addressed some of the key regional trade agreements which pointed MSMEs to export market opportunities. MTN’s Enterprise Business Unit, alongside the office of the Director of SMEs provided education and information empowering entrepreneurs on where they sell their products across different parts of the world.
MTN Head of Enterprise Business Unit (EBU) Thandazile Dlamini said the seminars have motivated MSMEs through testimonials and equipped them with strategies that could help them to succeed.
She also highlighted that over the past years, MTN Eswatini has involved additional partners to empower SMEs on financials and product standards.
Dlamini said through the seminars, MTN Eswatini seeks to foster collaboration with MSMEs in addressing their daily communication needs and connectivity solutions to enable them to access local and international markets.
“Our role as MTN is to support SMMEs in this way within this agenda through bundled propositions and payment solutions that talk to their specific needs,” she said.
Dlamini said during the Covid-19 period, MTN zero-rated MoMo payments collections for businesses to contribute to ease of doing business.
“In 2019, we engaged all MSMEs in the four regions of the country to share opportunities within the agricultural sector in collaboration with Eswatini Dairy Board and the National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard),” she said.
“The year 2020 was more like a gap year where we all grappled with COVID-19 which unfortunately has seen several MSMEs close their doors for good, while others struggle to get back on their feet. We just hope and pray for the best as we start 2021”.
“This year we have re-grouped to embrace the opportunities that technology offers to continue with this work. We believe it is important for us to engage and we believe that, as we bring partners to disseminate information and educate SMEs, that will give all of us hope that it can be done, even though we are going through a difficult time,” she further stated.
One of the key speakers in the seminar was Director of MSME in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Mluleki Dlamini. He unpacked on relief measures by government and available opportunities for businesses under the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.