Digital programme empowers business owner

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By – SAnews.gov.za

A digital training programme has sparked the imagination of small business owner, Ritha Katise, to expand her small enterprise.

Speaking to SAnews about the Digital Skills for Africans programme which she attended at the Thusong Centre in Colesberg, Northern Cape, Katise said: “I want to convert my house into a bed and breakfast. I will advertise this business online.”

Katise currently hires out equipment for children’s parties and offers catering and décor services.

“I learned that I can also conduct my business online and this will help me to reach a larger audience. I also learned about the information that should be available on a website which will make customers want to use my services.

“Young people who are unemployed can also benefit from having digital skills as they can start their own businesses, offering services to create websites. Colesberg is a small town and young people must use the opportunity to start their own businesses if they have the skills,” she said.

The workshop on digital training was facilitated by digital training provider Digititan. The programme is sponsored by Google.

Managing Director of Digititan Dennies Memela said the training was recently offered to about 80 people who have small businesses and young people who are unemployed.

“We are using this opportunity to expose people to skills which are vital. We want to use this as a platform to make people aware that if you are not digitally literate in this day and age you are not going to succeed, whether you are a business person or a young person looking for a job,” Memela said.

On Monday the annual Thusong Service Week was launched in Colesberg. The programme is aimed at redressing the imbalances of the past by taking services closer to where people live, bringing hope, access, redress, equality and empowerment to those previously marginalised from the mainstream of socio-economic development.

The focus for the 2017 Thusong Service Week will be on job opportunities in the economic cluster and small development.

To date, there are 197 Thusong Service Centres countrywide. Out of the 197, there are 138 which are operational and functional according to the requirements of the Thusong Business plan.

Acting Executive Mayor of Pixley ka Seme Councillor Nombulelo Hermans said the centres have made life easier for the people of Colesberg.

“In the Colesberg area, before we had the Thusong Centre, to get a birth certificate one had to drive 140 kilometres. When there were deaths within families there were serious problems,” Councillor Hermans said.

She said now because of the Thusong Centre young people can access business opportunities, government services, including those from the Department of Labour, South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa), and Department Home Affairs, the Adult Basic Education and Training centre as well as a telecentre which operates as an internet café.

The centre also houses small businesses such as a beauty salon, catering services and textile products.

Digititan Executive Director Norman Hlakudi said the partnership with the Thusong Centre will help close the digital gap.

The beneficiaries of the digital training now have the ability to offer training as they are now certified trainers which means that they already have jobs.

“We partnered with the Thusong Centre because we want to take digital training to the people,” Hlakudi said.