GREYTOWN manufacturer of Twin Twice Tissue toilet paper featured prominently in the completion of a major SMME development programme at a ceremony in the Greytown Town Hall last Saturday, 19 August. Initiated in 2013 to promote youth-owned rural co-operatives in KZN, the programme is run by Transnet Port Terminal (TPT)in conjunction with Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and the Coastal TVET College in Hammarsdale.In the programme, nine youth owned rural co-operatives, in Eshowe, Ulundi, Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Greytown, received barbed wire and tissue manufacturing machines - more than R2 million was provided to supply the machines. To ensure sustainability and growth, TPT in partnership with EDTEA entered into an agreement to procure manufacturing equipment for the co-operatives by contributing 50/50 towards the equipment cost. Training in business management skills was also given to them.“It so rewarding to see co-operatives thrive when the right type of financial and business support to succeed,” said Thandi Sabelo of TPT.To date Greytown hosts the most successful of the co-operatives involved in this project - Amakhabela cc. The company is contracted to supply 40 Spar branches in KZN with its in-house branded toilet paper “Twin Twice”. Dynamic achiever CEO Thabiso Gcwaba told the Greytown Gazette, in addition to the TPT, EDTEA and National Youth Development Association sponsorship, that he had also received sponsorship of R200 000 from Umvoti Municipality. As of last week, this rapidly growing and successful company has a new sponsor - SAB - and is looking at developing the export market having just been to China with SAB.A number of high profile dignitaries attended the official ceremony including KZN MEC, Sihle Zikalala, Umvoti Mayor Thami Ngubane, and Transnet Port Terminals’ Chief Executive Nozipho Sithole. “As a state-owned company the empowerment of South Africa’s historically disadvantaged people is high on government’s agenda and TPT is committed to implementing this agenda. “Transnet fully supports the enhanced participation of black-owned Exempted Micro-Enterprises and Qualifying Small Enterprises in the mainstream economy, as an effective way to redress the economic imbalances of the past. “For this reason, it’s been vital that we provide meaningful support to these entities so they can be operationally and financially independent. We pledge our support to continue to partner as far as we are actually developing the economy, we are developing the youth, we are developing the women and we are developing our future as South Africa,” said TPT’s CE, Nozipho Sithole. In his address, MEC Zikalala, said the success of the co-operatives like Amakhabelo cc demonstrated that if government and the private sector continue to work together, they would contribute more to the lives of all. “It is undeniable that owing to the country’s employment figures, the unemployment rate is at a worrying level. It stands at 27%. We all have to work together to ensure that we address the hopelessness among the youth and therefore position them and place them to participate in building the future of our country. “We’d like to urge and encourage our young people to adopt a more favourable outlook toward entrepreneurship and co-operatives. “The fact is that SMME’s and co-operatives have a great role to play in the economy of our country. “Once again, I’d like to thank Transnet for so willingly stepping up and joining hands with us in an initiative that we are sure will go a considerable mile towards serving as a catalyst for local entrepreneurship and the empowerment of our young people,” said Zikalala.Three other Greytown enterprises, Umdeni SkinCare, Toilet Guy and X-brand exhibited their products at the event and impressed with their entrepreneurial skills. To conclude the celebrations, the VIPs visited the Twin Tissue plant to formally complete the handover and the completion of the project.