MTN Business has announced Kevinot Farming from Matatiele in the Eastern Cape as the winner of its SME JumpStarter campaign.
The strategic initiative, aligned with MTN’s Ambition 2025, aims to empower and recognise the growth and success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across South Africa.
The MTN SME JumpStarter competition was launched at the MTN SME Day event in May this year. Entrepreneurs from diverse sectors across Africa submitted their innovative projects for consideration. The entry process served as a dynamic showcase of the rich tapestry of ideas within the SME community.
In the heart of Matatiele, Kevinot Farming, with an innovative approach to sustainable agriculture, emerged as a standout choice among a pool of exceptional participants.
In addition to a R100 000 cash prize, Kevinot Farming will receive an accounting software package for a year from Sage for their exceptional innovation in sustainable agriculture, securing their place as a beacon of success within the SME community.
Nonopa Tenza, the founder and owner of Kevinot Farming, previously an accountant by training, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey after spending most of her life in the corporate world, notably in the financial services sector.
Her venture began as a side hustle in 2017, driven by the vision of enhancing food security, providing means of employment, and uplifting rural areas.
Beyond creating permanent jobs, the female-owned farm hires seasonal workers to harvest sugar beans, paying them with beans and maize, empowering them to start micro-enterprises or use the produce to combat hunger. Additionally, Kevinot Farming assists neighbouring farmers with access to markets, shares best practices, and provides mechanisation services, contributing to the overall development of the local agricultural community.
“This recognition from MTN is a significant boost for our efforts in Matatiele. It reaffirms the impact of our work, and we are eager to leverage this opportunity to expand our reach and make a lasting contribution to our community,” says Tenza.
Tenza has leveraged her corporate background, experience, and networks to secure contracts for Kevinot Farming.
“The JumpStarter competition was a crucial opportunity for capital raising, addressing challenges such as transportation to offtakers and the need for quick market access, especially during high fire seasons,” adds Tenza.
Kevinot Farming envisions making agriculture fashionable, encouraging entrepreneurship at an early stage, and expanding to process its products. To achieve these goals, there’s a need for infrastructure development, including electricity alternatives and processing plants.
Tenza’s motivation lies in the transformative impact of farming on communities. Her passion extends beyond wealth creation to leaving a lasting legacy and uplifting those who never had educational opportunities.
“Kevinot Farming embodies the spirit of innovation and resilience that our SME JumpStarter campaign seeks to foster. We believe in empowering SMEs like Kevinot Farming, providing them with the tools and resources needed to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape,” says Songezo Masiso, GM: SME and indirect channel at MTN South Africa.
“As MTN, we pride ourselves on being an enabler of small business success. We are a comprehensive solution provider for businesses looking to thrive in the digital economy, and Kevinot Farming stands as a beacon of local enterprise success that we’re striving for,” concludes Masiso.
MTN’s strategic focus extends beyond individual success stories to broader initiatives like the SME Hub – a daily online news portal that provides strategic business content to enable SMMEs to unlock their growth potential and JumpStarter.
The success of JumpStarter has not only recognised the innovation of SMEs like Kevinot Farming but has also set the stage for a larger SME Summit in 2024.