PROWEB is a women’s empowerment network, enabling women to speak with one voice and harness the talents and skills of entrepreneurial women in Zimbabwe.
Virgin Unite began funding PROWEB in 2014, as part of a three-year program. Since then we’ve supported over 180 women entrepreneurs and matched them to incredible female mentors.
With our continued support – these entrepreneurs have gone onto make differences in their communities and industries – including hospitality, farming and graphic design and much more.
Today we’re sharing the story Dade Xolie Nxumalo, a Bulawayo based entrepreneur, and the owner of Lingwe Image Makers.
Dade registered her company back in 2012 with a view of providing high quality clothing – since then she’s developed Lingwe into a specialist manufacturer of school wear, protective wear, and corporate wear, promotional material, curtaining and linen.
Dade got into the business world on quite a small scale, but was soon forced to expand when her family faced hardships and her husband lost his job. Dade’s business became the sole source of income for the family and performed well enough for her to send her children to school. Whilst business operations were successful, there was still a need for Dade to enhance the way she ran her business and further grow revenue. This is what motivated her to participate in the PROWEB program.
Dade has taken part in Virgin Unite’s PROWEB Business Women’s Training and Mentorship Program, as well as Foundation Training, Business Plan Development, Mentorship and Advanced Training programs.
Her participation with PROWEB has resulted in Lingwe making a 40 per cent increase in revenue, and has led to the creation of two casual and five permanent positions. Through the training Dade has learnt how to improve business practices with better business planning, improved employee treatment programs and greater respect for customer deadlines. These areas have become the cornerstones of her successful business.
On top of the business training, Dade has also benefitted from PROWEB mentoring. Her mentorship relationship with mentor, Nomathemba Ndlovu, taught her how to better retain customers through authentic nurturing and strong relationship building. Dade describes her mentoring relationship as ‘amazing’ and is incredibly grateful for her mentor’s assistance in linking her to reputable clothing companies.
Through the new formed links with PROWEB, Dade’s factory been visited by the Honorable Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises, Mrs Sithembiso Nyoni, accompanied by Ministers from South Africa, Niger and Cote d’ivoire. Another major highlight for Dade was her being awarded second runner up in the 2017 Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards (WECA). “This has opened a new world of networking with other women in business internationally and has brought recognition of my company,” said Dade.
Dade is now committed to transferring the skills learnt through PROWEB to fellow female entrepreneurs in surrounding rural communities. She remains passionate about sewing and is encouraging women in her community to start up sewing clubs, with a goal of eventual income generation. Dade continues to express her gratitude for the opportunity to benefit from the Business Women’s Training program, saying “I am now an empowered woman!”
Learn more about PROWEB and Virgin Unite's investments in global entrepreneurship here.