By Phiwa Sikhondze
Standard Bank Eswatini says they will continue supporting the youth in the country because of the important role they play.
The bank donated E156 500 to Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini and E90 000 to ENACTUS Eswatini; two non-profit organizations that promote entrepreneurship education and training among students and young people.
The ceremony took place yesterday at the bank’s headquarters in Mbabane. The sponsorship for JA Eswatini will help fund their programs and their participation in the Junior Achievement Company of the Year Competition in Rwanda this December.
The sponsorship for ENACTUS Eswatini on the other hand will support ENACTUS programmes’, and the students who take part in the ENACTUS competition-a platform for showcasing their entrepreneurial projects and networking with peers and potential investors and partners.
The Chief Executive of Standard Bank Eswatini, Mvuselelo Fakudze was represented by Mlamuli Hlatshwayo, the Head of Business and Commercial Banking, who stated that the bank was proud to partner with the two organizations in empowering young people with entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.
He said that the bank believes in fostering a supportive ecosystem that empowers youth to create innovative and transformative enterprises that can solve social and environmental challenges and contribute to economic growth and development.
“Our work doesn’t end here, as a Bank, we understand the importance of inculcating entrepreneurial spirit that will empower young people to see opportunities amid challenges. That is why we are adapting our banking model to be more inclusive and accommodating young entrepreneurs, implementing digitization and making financial management coaching available to entrepreneurs through our Enterprise Banking unit,” he said.
He also congratulated the National Expo winners, Vulamasango Junior Achievement, who will represent Eswatini in Rwanda. He urged them to showcase their creativity, talent, and potential to the rest of Africa.
He applauded the fundamental role that ENACTUS plays in developing local youth-led enterprises, and that the bank’s intention is to unlock a wealth of talent and unleash a wave of entrepreneurship in Eswatini.
Hlatshawayo said their vision is that the collaboration with ENACTUS will lay a solid foundation for small businesses to succeed and create more jobs and service industry expansion across the region.
He further encouraged young people in colleges and universities locally to participate in the JA and ENACTUS programmes, as they provide them with access to entrepreneurship education and training programmes that will equip them with the requisite skills to navigate the business world effectively.
He said that the bank’s role in helping the entrepreneurs of tomorrow starts today, through such long-term partnerships.
The Head of Business and Commercial Banking said that the bank believes that the beneficiaries of the JA and ENACTUS programmes are the bank’s SME banking clients of tomorrow. He said that the bank is deliberate in creating spaces that promote local business enterprises, especially in the wake of the pandemic and economic recession.
Sabelo Dlamini, the Head of Operations at JA Eswatini, who represented the Executive Director, thanked Standard Bank Eswatini for its continued support over the years. He said that the sponsorship will enable JA Eswatini to implement its programs effectively and efficiently at the grassroots level.
Receiving the donation, the ENACTUS Country Director, Nqobile Dludlu expressed her gratitude for the sponsorship. She noted that this funding will go a long way into improving and financially assisting young entrepreneurs who are under the guidance of ENACTUS.
“Through the sponsorships from our partners like Standard Bank, we have been able to build entrepreneurship skills. We currently have a team of students from the Mbabane Campus who won the national competition and went to the Netherlands for the World Cup. They have a business whereby they produce animal feed. They still need us to handhold them and support them with the seed capital, which we have done,” she said.