It was a joyous and inspirational night at the Emaxesibeni(Mount Ayliff) town hall when an awards ceremony was held to honour small-micro-medium enterprises (SMME’s) on the 15th of June.

The Honourable Mayor Councillor K.S Pangwa opened the ceremony by emphasising the important role of entrepreneurs in the community, especially with the high rate of unemployment amongst the youth in our community. She went on to site entrepreneurship as a tool to alleviating poverty, encouraging SMME’s to take calculated risks in order for their businesses to grow. She said “if you fail to take risks, you risk to fail”. Amongst the guests who addressed the Gala, was local businesswomen Ms. N Noda and Mrs N Mpiti who both respectively gave testimonials of their struggles as entrepreneurs starting up, but the message was one, “keep trying until you succeed, and when you fall don’t give up”.

The head of department for Local Economic Development at Umzimvubu local municipality Ms LS Batyi once again identified institutions SMMEs could consult for assistance for their businesses, some of these institutions were FNB, Nedbank, SAB miller, SEDA and more. Mr Dumile Ndlamla, also known as “makati” who is a well-known business man was the speaker of the night. His story is a typical rags to riches life story, he told of how he grew for the better part of his youth bear fit with no shoes to go to school, how he finally got his first pair of shoes in standard 3, when his soccer coach at school bought him a pair of soccer boots. MR Ndlamla operates in the transport industry, and owns a fleet of buses operating in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng area. Amongst his business portfolio he also owns a number of restaurants and as well as the well-known food franchise Spur at Kokstad. Makati’ attributes all of his success to perseverance, telling of all of the downfalls and hurdles he encountered on his way up as a businessman and entrepreneur. He finished off his speech by quoting on of utata uMandela’s famous quotes, which reads-“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.

The programme was finished off by the awarding of these brave individuals who are willing to take risks for the betterment of their lives and the community. The winners received certificates by the municipality and cash vouchers, and were also given the opportunity to advertise their businesses at the municipal digital adverting billboards for free for a whole year.