The MTN-Small Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO) Cija Ngebhizinisi 2021 top 20 finalists have graduated after completing their one-week physical training programme. 

The training was conducted by SEDCO in harmony with the current COVID-19 regulations at the SEDCO Manzini Estate. It began on Monday last week and ended on Friday. 

The aim of the training was to equip the top 20 finalists with practical skills and to provide a networking platform for the finalists to share ideas, information, and solutions. 

The physical training came after the first phase of the programme that ran on Eswatini Broadcasting Information Services (EBIS 1) for 18 weeks. Its objective is to enhance start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) understanding on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. After the 18 weeks, followers of the radio programme on EBIS 1 were then invited to fill in application forms to get rigorous business training and stand a chance to win seed capital worth E10 000. 

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the programme received 64 applications. The top 20 was drawn from entrants that were found to be implementing the key topics that were covered by the radio programme. 

After the training that ended last week, five start-ups from the top 20 finalists stand a chance to win seed capital worth E10 000 each. The winners of the seed capital will be selected based on their site visit scores by the judges and the training assessment. 

Speaking on behalf of the top 20 finalists, Bayanda Mabila (27) from Mbuluzi said ‘no money can buy what they have learned during the training.’  

Mabila started his motor spares business towards the end of last year and this was his first formal business training. 

“The life skills we learned during the one-week training were incredible. We learned a lot of critical things that we never paid attention to before, because we were so much concerned about making money,” he said.  

Some of the topics that were covered during the training include costing, survival budgeting, break-even point, marketing, and cash-flow projection.

He dearly thanked MTN and SEDCO for investing in them, “the beautiful thing about learning something is that no one can take it away from you.” 

MTN Foundation Coordinator Evidence Ntshalintshali congratulated the graduates and further wished them luck ahead of the awards to be held soon.

“We congratulate those that will get seed capital. Please make sure that the money you will get will be put into good use,” she said.