June 2021.

Zeerust Solar Farm’s recent business acceleration programme has nominated principally women-led agriculture SMME’s as its key beneficiaries of the enterprise development initiative.

Five agricultural micro entrepreneurs, based in the Ramotshere Moiloa local communities, are to receive business funding and services support, following a stringent selection process, as announced by Zeerust Solar.

Of the five entrepreneurs, four are women and at least three are youth, demonstrating a shift in the perception that agriculture is male dominant. Additionally these beneficiaries will further address our obligation to ensure that women and youth are empowered through our various Economic Development programmes,” explained Nomzamo Landingwe, Chief Community Operations Officer for Zeerust Solar.

The five overall winners will enter an Agri4Change accelerator programme and will also receive access to income generating assets through allocation, which extends over 12 months; and an accredited certificate in mixed farming practices aligned with AgriSETA.

One of the young beneficiaries, Emily Mmelesi, from the Kruisrivier community, is only 21 years old. She has started a small vegetable trading enterprise, which she plans to expand to include agricultural fodder.

“We are very proud of the five selected entrepreneurs, who together with the other contestants, will be working alongside trainers and business mentors for several months. We wish them good fortune in achieving their business goals,” added Landingwe.

Forty six entrepreneurs initially applied for the enterprise development initiative. However, only fifteen SMMES across different disciplines, over and above the five agri-SMMEs, will also continue to receive a 12-month business mentorship programme; business development support; as well as formal business planning, which can be used to access more opportunities.

Zeerust Solar’s Economic Development programme is to empower and strengthen local communities in and around the Ramotshere Moiloa local municipality, namely Ikageleng, Henryville, Olienhout Park, Shalimar Park, Welbedacht (Lehurutshe Town) and Groot Marico, as well as extending to 40 villages located within the Municipal area.

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