We kicked off the new Local Microenterprise Development project on 1 July. It is expected to run for a period of 24 months setting up 10 small businesses: sewing, wool, hot boxes, homestays, hairdressing, tree planting, bee keeping, poultry, dairy and snail farming.The project has been funded by the Old Mutual Foundation. Its vision is to develop the local economy in the Xhora Mouth Admistrative Area (AA). While the project will consider opportunities to build on the tourist related market that has been developed around the Bulungula Lodge, its main aim is to spur the development of a vibrant local economy for and by the communities of the Xhora Mouth AA. Currently, a significant portion of any money generated in the area is spent in the towns in the surrounding areas, like Elliotdale and Mthatha. Through the establishment and development of these enterprises, the project will endeavour to leverage effect of the money multiplier within the area:
→ The cook at the Bulungula Lodge spends R50 on a hair cut at the ‘Hairdressing Microenterprise’ → The hairdresser uses this income to buy a skirt from the ‘Sewing Microenterprise’ → The sewer buys a chicken from the ‘Poultry Microenterprise’ →
Net Effect: the original R50 earned at the Bulungula Lodge from a tourist has multiplied into R150 worth of goods and services, and thus jobs, within the village.
In order to establish the rollout schedule for first group of enterprises to be launched, we surveyed the 4 villages that make-up the Xhora Mouth A A: Nqileni, Folokwe, Tshezi and Mgojweni. This enabled us to determine which areas were best for the establishment of the pilot testing sites.
Once the rollout schedule had been mapped out, the rollout began! We kicked off with:
- Documentation of a prior microenterprise established in Nqileni, the iLangafire Restaurant. The restaurant was initially established in 2005 and the experience provides valuable and illuminating lessons in the potential pitfalls of microentereprise establishment in the area. This case study is the start of the documentation process that is a key deliverable of the project.
- Training of a new shopkeeper for the Bulungula Lodge Craft Shop. The Bulungula Lodge Craft Shop provides an important market through which the goods produced by our microenterprises can be sold to tourists. The current owner of the craft shop will be leaving to pursue other interests by the end of the month. Due a lack of the requisite skills in the area, namely, numeracy, literacy and English-language skills, the shop has yet to be successfully run by a local community member. Kunjulwa Mbi, a resident of Nqileni Village, was approached and is now being trained for the position. This project is supporting her with the necessary set up requirements and will continue to support her training and development in financial management, stock management, sales and marketing and business development. We hope that the Bulungula Craft Shop will become a viable enterprise that will grow into one of the successes of this project.
- Exploring the area for a suitable pilot site for the Village Homestay and Village Hike microenterprises. This product will give visitors the opportunity to explore the area beyond the Bulungula Lodge to get a true ‘village’ experience by hiking through the surrounding areas with a local guide and staying overnight in a local homestead. We will pilot these enterprises in the villages of Nqileni and Folokwe and hope to expand the product further into the area over time.