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Programme offers support to emerging NC farmers

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“I saw the unemployment and poverty in our town. Through my business, I hope to provide job opportunities and also motivate other women and youths to become interested in farming”

CATHERINE Riet, an emerging farmer from Britstown, is one of the five entrepreneurs in the Northern Cape region who has been selected for further business support and funding as part of the Big Shake-up Accelerator programme.

Funding for the rural training programme, which aims to equip women and youth participants with the basic opportunities and skills of running a business, regardless of their education level, is provided by De Aar Solar Power in collaboration with the Angels Resource Centre.

Despite not having any formal qualifications, Riet’s business plan was selected for its vision, the strong market demand for red meat as well as her dedication during the mentoring process, which demonstrated her passion and unwavering hard work.

Four of the five selected entrepreneurs are women, a positive sign considering that women make up over 50% of the total population in the Pixley ka Seme district.

“I saw the unemployment and poverty in our town. Through my business, I hope to provide job opportunities and also motivate other women and youths to become interested in farming,” Riet said.

According to Riet, her five-year plan is to be positioned as a “strong black commercial farmer” and to expand her farming to include greenhouse vegetable production.

The five entrepreneurs, based in the Northern Cape towns of Hanover, Britstown, Philipstown and De Aar, have been working alongside trainers and business mentors for several months. They were selected for further development and funding following a stringent enterprise stimulation programme.

“During the mentoring programme, these entrepreneurs developed workable business plans to accelerate their businesses over the next 12 months. Items such as tools, equipment, livestock, seeds, irrigation systems and specialised training are part of the plans,” explained Harrisinah Theka, economic development officer for De Aar Solar Power, who funds this programme as part of its Enterprise Development Programme.

“Other than the fund management service alongside the mentor, they also receive business support services such as business bookkeeping, compliance, tax support, marketing collateral and other administrative services to support their growth, monthly business workshops guides access to opportunities and other small business information,” concluded Theka.