Small Business Owners Become the Inspiration for this Small Community

High levels of unemployment are proof that more needs to be done all around the country. Whether it is the lack of opportunities provided or a skills insufficiency, most people are not making ends meet.

With a rise in entrepreneurship programmes, businesses need funding to become self-sufficient. Often times, there is a direct link between businesses failing and the lack of development programmes for small business owners. To that end, the Anglo American Zimele Enterprise and Supplier Development programme was born.

Mpho and Oarabile Barnard, small business owners from Postmasburg in the Northern Cape, are amongst the SMMEs whose contribution to ending unemployment has not gone unnoticed in their community. The Barnards saw a gap in the hospitality market and because there were many visitors coming into their town – their Bed and Breakfast proved it could be a viable business. Moreover, because most small towns are often overlooked in terms of development, it was important to the couple that they contribute something much bigger to their community.

The main role of the programme is to provide SMMEs with soft loans, training and mentorship opportunities. Since its inception, Anglo American has helped over 2 300 entrepreneurs who, in turn, have contributed to employing more than 50 00 people. What Zimele does is help create something sustainable for the people living around Anglo American mines so their communities can thrive long after the mine has become destitute. This goes hand in hand with their sustainability strategy.

It is clear that Anglo American believes in South African’s future and potential, as well as the transformative potential that comes with re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives. The Barnards are a part of a transformative South Africa and their contributions to their community are beyond everything they could have imagined.

With each sip you take, can you even begin to imagine that the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a provider of comprehensive services for 600,000 small tea farmers which represents over 60% of the countries total tea production and 13% of the global tea supply? Me too. Its services span across the entire tea processing chain including, transportation, warehousing, processing, marketing, financing and agri-extension to better educate farmers and improve the farming process.

KTDA pays farmers at various stages pre and post final sale. Given the volume of farmers and money being moved on a frequent basis, KTDA needed to have efficient technologies in place to meet expectations, simplify the process and keep up with their growing business. The livelihood of these farmers depends on getting regularly paid for tea supplied – and in the past, this exchange had been a tedious and laborious challenge.

With its global reach, IT capabilities and expertise in working with a myriad of local banks and currencies, Citi developed a system that seamlessly enables KTDA to pay 600,000 farmers quickly, reliably and securely, with an audit trail that ensures transparency. Citi’s new Mass Pay module enables KTDA to pay farmers the same day the funds are received.

Since inception and the introduction of this new system, the farmers have been able to depend on reliable and secure payments for their crops. Not only are they able to better manage their lives, they’re able to support their families, secure their futures without the worry of late payments.

So, just as you enjoy the warmth of your favourite tea in the comfort of your home we can safely say that tea farmers in Kenya are warm and fuzzy inside too because: it’s not just a cup of tea.