The Enterprise Development division was added to the Zimele programme as Self-Help Group members began to develop their commercial potential and became ready to start new or grow existing businesses. They began in January 2013 with providing training to the existing SHG members, the craft groups and the co-operatives. After an 8-week Basic Business course, the ladies are supported with selling their produce at local markets or outlets. This experience is designed to highlight the need for high quality products in sufficient quantity for market.
The outcome of this training also enables Zimele staff to determine the level and future needs in Business Training. After this first 8-week course Zimele is able to compile a profile on the ladies who have been trained. This helps to address the vastly different levels of the individual ladies. While not everyone is literate or has a head for business, Zimele tries to equip them with the necessary skills for their day-to-day business activities.
It is also important to grow their existing businesses through mentoring and related training, as well as identifying the future training needs for the many community or individual businesses.
Zimele continues to expose its programme to the Clusters to encourage the ladies to identify SHGs that they feel need guidance or are at a level where they feel ready to form new businesses. At the same time it continues to focus on strengthening existing businesses and making the community ladies aware of new marketing/retail opportunities, including trade shows, market days, and Christmas markets.
Another aspect that Zimele focuses on, apart from Business and Financial training, is general Financial Literacy. This is very important as few of the beneficiaries have been exposed to understanding how money works in a broader context.