THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has partnered with Metro Women Secondary Co-operative (MWSC) to support their Sanitary Towel Manufacturing Project, based in Gqeberha.
The IDC’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) department is providing funding to enable the Nelson Mandela University Business School to provide business and mentorship training for the co-operative.
“Advancing inclusive economic activity and funding women entrepreneurs is core to the IDC’s mandate. The corporation is purposeful in supporting initiatives that empower women, especially young black women,” said IDC Head of Corporate Affairs, Tshepo Ramodibe.
“This project was perfectly suited for us to get involved in. It empowers women by creating sustainable jobs for them and producing a product that will enable young girls and women to access much needed products. Many girls lose valuable school time due to a lack of sanitary towels, and this need can be alleviated through this project.”
The MWSC was established in 2018 to pursue business opportunities within the automotive and manufacturing sector. From 85 members in 2018, today, the co-operative has 65 members. The co-operative group comprises of 65 black women who are mostly over the age of 35, either unemployed or in temporary employment positions.
“We are very excited to partner with the IDC and the Business School as this partnership will help our organisation to grow holistically, with very beneficial long-term results for us,” said MWSC Founder and Executive Member, Nomazwi Rosellinah Klaas.
Nelson Mandela University Business School Director, Dr Randall Jonas, said they aimed to assist the co-operative in enhancing their skills through training. A secondary objective is to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the province.
“Through this eco-system, we will be able to explore the possibility of firming up collaboration amongst local entrepreneurs to encourage localisation and for them to share their resources and join forces to achieve common goals,” Jonas said.
In this context, the Business School has developed an integrated programme that aims to not only develop the business acumen of entrepreneurs and enterprises in the township, emerging and priority sectors of the economy, but to build resilience through business-to-business coaching initiatives.
The Business School has also partnered with the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC EC) to provide manufacturing industry-specific coaching support and mentorship sessions to businesses taking part in the programme, further encouraging upliftment and empowerment of women in manufacturing.
Manufacturing Industry-specific coaching support and mentoring will be provided by the AIDC EC team, who are experts in production processes, business set up and processes, quality production and systems, process and efficiency improvements, as well as leadership and support services.