September 2021.

Soldado T Enterprise is one of eight youth enterprises in the Blouberg Municipal area of Limpopo, that are receiving developmental support through a collaborative youth development programme, initiated by Soutpan Solar Power last year. Most recently, the company has received funding for agro-processing equipment, which will increase output and grow revenue.

“Vegetable Atchar is our company’s best selling item, accounting for up to 80% of our turn-over, but with this new equipment, we’ll be able to not only speed up the process involved in the fresh cut vegetables output, but hope to expand our product range thereby reducing our income dependency on single range,” said Tumelo Faith Mannya, Owner and Director of Soldado T Enterprise.

The company currently employs two young women from the local community, but with increased output, plans are in place to double their staff.

Through the adoption of a holistic approach to development, which entails the deployment of funding, business mentorship, building of institutional capacity and possible market access where necessary and skills training, businesses such as Soldado T Enterprise are becoming more sustainable.

“Supporting entrepreneurs and youth run enterprises of this nature assists in retaining young people in the area as well as creating employment, which further contributes to local economic growth and poverty alleviation in the long run. As this developmental support reaches more enterprises, the contribution to the local economy can be exponential, leading to the establishment of a local economic zone, within Bochum, with a variety of interlinked or de-linked businesses all contributing to the reduction of emigration to other towns in search of employment,” explained Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Officer for Soutpan Solar Power.

The programme is being implemented in collaboration with an eco-system of partners, including the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA); Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA ), who are currently assisting Soldado T Enterprise with compay branding; Venetia Mine, who supported the company and provided basic business management training; Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET); Department of Rural Development, who supported Soldado T Enterprise with Covid-19 relief funds; and lastly, Capricorn District Municipality, which is in the process of funding packaging and restaurant equipment.