The Rural Enterprise Programme was initiated in 2008 to empower local businesses and entrepreneurs within the tourism conservation space. To date the programme has evolved and has assisted 430 enterprises with business skills development, capacity building, and grant funding. In March 2023 all the 35 participants were inducted to the programme, outlining the benefits of the programme. Training sessions were held both at Sodwana area and St Lucia to accommodate all participants.
iSimangaliso has seen a need to expand this programme given the challenges facing communities within uMkhanyakude, namely high unemployment of 42%, poverty, joblessness, and inequality. In the next financial year (2023/24) the programme aims to select 100 SMME’s that will benefit from this programme. The number of participating SMME’s are selected based on the availability of funding.
The ongoing contributions by iSimangaliso towards job creation and poverty alleviation has made this Entity to be regarded as one of the critical role players in this poverty stricken district. iSimangaliso’s mission is to protect, preserve and present its World Heritage values for current and future generations while benefiting communities living in and adjacent to the Park by facilitating optimal tourism and related development.