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Internal Savings and Lending Clubs essential for women in business

At least 21 female informal traders in Bulawayo were trained yesterday on Internal Savings Clubs, Financial Literacy and Access to Loans. The training was conducted with an aim of empowering women to have knowledge on access to finance, improve their financial independence and promote growth for their small businesses.

Women who attended the training included informal traders in the textile sector, detergent making, food and vegetable vending, agricultural sector and cosmetology sector.

Sharing her thoughts after the meeting, Simangele Dhlamini who is the secretary for the Perfect Group Club said the training had opened her eyes to new ideas that will strengthen the savings group that she is a part of.

“I benefitted a lot from today’s training. As a group, we will make sure that we inculcate a culture of saving and this will help us when we have emergencies and even in terms of growing our individual businesses,” she said.

Facilitating the training, a representative from Hand in Hand, Unami Dube highlighted that Internal Saving and Lending (ISALs) groups are a good way for women to support each other’s businesses.

“Individual self-screening is an important aspect when seeking to engage in ISALs. Members need to be willing to work together and be available.

Dube highlighted that the methodology for ISALs involves group formation, financial resource mobilisation and financial resource management.

“There is need for self-selection of group members, selection of group leadership and constitution development. Members also need to develop their own fundraising strategies and also prioritise record keeping,” she said.

Dube added that ISALs should have a constitution and two thirds of the people in the group should be available for the adoption of the constitution.

Women were also encouraged to keep track of cash coming in and going out, show their business performance and monitor all business activities and transactions. Women were also taught on the importance of having an attendance register, savings book, fines book, loans book, cash book and meeting minutes.

The training was also graced by the Branch Manager for Old Mutual Finance Phillip Makanhiwa who facilitated a session on financial literacy and access to loans. He encouraged women to know their income and expenses and use this information as a guideline for saving and spending.

“Plan for savings in your budgets and as a business person, know that your expenses should be below your income. There is need for you to monitor cashflows into and out of the business on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis,” said Makanhiwa

Makanhiwa highlighted that women in business should consider the administrative costs associated with procuring loans, the interest rates, insurance and terms and conditions before borrowing.

“As women in business, you need to understand payment requirements and fees associated with the loan, you need to have a payback plan and do not borrow for abnormal rates of interest,” said Makanhiwa.

Makanhiwa explained that Old Mutual Finance provides loans to women in the informal sector and provided information on how these loans can be accessed.

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