New prospects for aspiring women entrepreneurs

TVET SA recently launched a Domestic Sewing Skills Programme for aspiring women entrepreneurs. The participants hail from the community surrounding Philippi Village in the Cape Flats. The initiative takes place at the Philippi Village Business Hub. 

Partnerships essential to the development of women entrepreneurs

Industry role players, including the South African Apparel Association, the Cape Town Fashion Council, Philippi Village and TVET SA came together to put in place this ground-breaking project. FP&M SETA provided grant funding for the project.  

The purpose of the project is to develop the skills of budding women entrepreneurs. The project targets small business owners and potential entrepreneurs in the clothing sector.  

The learners enrolled in the Domestic Sewing Skills Programme. This is an accredited intervention facilitated by TVET SA. The programme combines practical sewing skills training with basic entrepreneurial skills development.  

The theory modules cover topics such as – writing a business plan, understanding customer requirements, and basic sales principles. The programme also provides information on how to plan and manage personal finance. 

Rewards in sight for successful candidates 

The 25 women entrepreneurs are very excited to be part of this initiative. Motivated by the prospect of receiving a domestic sewing machine as a reward for successfully completing the programme, they are determined to stay the course! Owning a domestic sewing machine will give them a kickstart to establishing a business. They also have the option to register a cooperative with fellow entrepreneurs. 


As this was our first project in Philippi Village, we were unsure what to expect. Ms Winifred Sinclair started the theory component of the programme with amazing results. Meeting the learners who hail from the surrounding areas was an amazing experience. “The learners were very receptive and eager to embark onto this new journey in their lives.” 

An inclusive project for an inclusive society

The purpose of the programme is to empower women entrepreneurs, but the group also includes a few men. One of these men, was a victim of gang violence in the area and is wheelchair bound. Together with his wife, he has started this skills development journey together. They aim to start a family business after the completion of the programme. Due to limited wheelchair access, he is unable to join the sewing activities on the upper level. A fellow learner has offered to sit downstairs with him and she assists him in every way she can. This is testimony to the spirit of Ubuntu amongst the group. 

Rising stars

After a slow start, the learners have gained confidence and they are starting to come into their own. 

One of the rising stars is Faniswa. Faniswa is a natural leader and draws people to her. She is always on time and motivates others to do the same. Faniswa uses her initiative and is quick to assist her fellow learners. A true and inspiring leader. 

Another budding woman in leadership is Zoe. Zoe completed her studies in human resources but was struggling to find employment. She grabbed this opportunity to broaden her current skills base. Zoe is a creative mind with strong entrepreneurial instincts. She already designs and makes jewellery. On completion of the domestic sewing programme, she will be able to produce other sewn products.  

Overcoming challenges 

The learners on the programme have faced severe challenges throughout their lives. Unemployment, poverty, and abuse are a few to mention. This has affected their access to education and gainful employment. Despite these challenges, the learners have committed themselves to this programme. They are determined to overcome challenges such as educational and language barriers.  

Inspirational women

The sheer determination of this group of learners is an inspiration to our TVET SA team. We have great expectations or this group of dynamic women and men. 

Janine Rix has recently joined Winifred and will facilitate the practical training component. The group will learn how to make basic products, from pattern to assembled product. 

The learners are excited to see this journey through. We are equally excited to see them grow into successful women entrepreneurs. 






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