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MTO: Sewing Initiative

Location: Coldstream, Tsitsikamma Area

Project duration: 2020 - onwards

External Stakeholders: Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Project objectives: Encourage entrepreneurship and create job opportunities for women within the forestry communities.

Project deliverables: PPE manufacturing women-owned business; Business skills training; Access to market.


PPE manufactured clothing from women-owned business

While Covid-19 presented unexpected turmoil for some people, it also birthed opportunities. MTO recruited a group of women who were sewing school uniforms for a living, and donated fabric for them to manufacture and supply the company with cloth masks for its operations staff and other neighbouring businesses. The company assisted the women to register as a business entity as that would help them attract new partnerships and markets. The newly registered business entity was linked with the Clothing Technology Station of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) to assist the aspiring entrepreneurs with budgeting, record keeping, production planning and other enterprise management skills, in addition to specialised technical production training.

Women using sewing maachines

Woman receiving guidance in using industrial sewing machine

In 2021 we linked Coldstream Women on the Move with our silviculture contractors. These forestry SMMEs are up-and-running beneficiaries of MTO’s enterprise development policies and practices. In a reciprocal gesture, they have in turn given Women on the Move a business opportunity by placing an order of 100 PPE suits (overalls). The CPUT has supplied the enterprise with three industrial sewing machines, and staff to mentor them, as the newly established enterprise produces its first big order. MTO will continue to assist this SMME with accessing potential markets to ensure financial sustainability.

Flepu Hard Workers

In one capacity or another, Vuyisile Flepu has spent a lifetime working in Forestry. He took the gap to make the switch from employee to entrepreneur in 2003 when he took on a short contract for the (then) Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working for Water Programme. Now an MTO entrepreneurship development success story, he has since 2007 worked first as a sub-contractor, then a contractor and now employs 105 people, as well as sub-contracting. Flepu’s growth as an entrepreneur has been supported by training in business and production management, and ongoing consultation and advice from initiatives such as Productivity SA.

He is one of the business owners that have ordered protective clothing from the newly established local sewing enterprise, Coldstream Women on the Move. It is this type of long-term commitment to the development of individuals that MTO actively pursues through its Enterprise and Supplier Development programme.


“We’re so privileged that MTO gave us this opportunity because most of us are unemployed, and those who have jobs earn very little. This helps us a lot. This is very good for us because now we can put bread on the table.” - Elsie Mosoka


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