Zetech Varsity trains over 100 South African traders on innovation, technology

From left; Prof Njenga Munene, VC, Zetech University; High Commissioner of Kenya to South Africa, H.E Jane Ndurumo; Deputy Director General for skills development in South Africa, Mr Zukile Mvalo and W&RSETA CEO, Mr Tom Mkhwanazi during the graduation ceremony.

Over 100 informal traders and micro enterprises starters from South Africa have graduated after being trained on Innovation and Technology by a Kenyan university in a bid to help them grow their businesses and increase their turnover.

The 111 businesses received a six-month mentorship and financial literacy training from Zetech University to further support their growth plans and aspirations. They were empowered with essential business management which will be pivotal in propelling growth of the South African informal retail trade.

Organised by the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (WRSETA), a South African parastatal, the informal traders who are among the contributors to the country’s economic growth have completed marketing, customer care, hygiene and food safety regulations training at Zetech.

Having completed the programme that includes business skills training, consisting of mentorship and coaching after the immersion into Kenya’s informal trade market, the traders are expected to contribute to the broader economic sustainability of South Africa by growing small businesses to create much-needed jobs and strengthen rural and township economies.

Zetech University Vice Chancellor Prof Njenga Munene addressing the graduands at the graduation ceremony.

The certification ceremony that was held at Wits University provided a platform for participants to share their learning, the impact of the programme which included new business opportunities, expansions and formalisation as well as future prospects.

This event underscored the collective impact of collaboration and education in fostering sustainable growth and opportunity.

Emphasis was on the key role played by the informal traders in both Kenya and South Africa’s economies alongside regional economic integration.

“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 WRSETA CEO Tom Mkhwanazi.

Mkhwanazi averred that informal cross-border trade contributes to regional integration from below because they move and distribute goods across borders. “They contribute to development, poverty alleviation and attain food security,” he said.

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Zetech Vice Chancellor Prof Njenga Munene hailed the informal traders exchange programme as milestone towards empowering the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“For a very long time, this category of business, the SMEs has been getting little or no attention. I applaud W&RSETA 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 programme; one of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa,” Prof Munene said.

The VC added, “The Informal Traders Exchange Programme is today certifying 111 business owners, trained, internationally immersed and equipped with the necessary business and entrepreneurial skills critical to running successful enterprises.”

The Wits Entrepreneurship Clinic (WEC) Director Edwell Gumbo hailed the programme noting that it is geared towards uplifting communities and fostering economic empowerment through targeted training of entrepreneurs and providing access to resources.

“We are 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,” Gumbo said.

Zetech University Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Alice Njuguna said that the institution 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.

“We are committed to imparting requisite knowledge and skills including entrepreneurship and innovation training, business planning, digital marketing, and business automation among others so that we can empower our informal traders who are crucial in economic growth and transformation of the nation,” she said.

By our reporter

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