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THE national lockdown has hit hard at the pockets of entrepreneurs especially those running small businesses. Among the entrepreneurs who are praying for their businesses survival during this difficult time are the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) alumni. Simangele Zuma from the Communications Department interviewed some of DUT’s alumni to discover how the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown has affected their small businesses.

Journalism Alumna, Sne Masuku who owns an online furniture shop, STS Lounge said: ” The lockdown Sne Masukuhas affected my business because I rely on the courier services to take my products to my clients. Furniture does not fall under essential services therefore my business is on hold. I use social media to promote my business but at the moment it doesn’t help because I can’t take any orders. Everyone is crossing fingers that come stage 3 and 2 of lockdown, small businesses as mine will pick up where they left off. My business’s survival after lockdown will depend on whether people will have money to buy furniture as it might be regarded as a luxury. The main priority is putting food on the table. I’m worried, I started this business earlier this year after being concerned about the media industry not doing well, I wanted to have something to fall back on.”


Public Relations and Management Alumnus, Terry Mavundla, who established a software development Terry Mavundlacompany, Wisolve five years ago said: ” Entrepreneurs are suffering the most when it comes to this pandemic. Entrepreneurship is not about hitting the sale the first time but it’s about the chance to do it again until it works. We can’t leave our homes to pursue that, we all want to see our businesses grow. Business to business interactions has been affected. Companies who had shown interest in our business are holding back projects we are supposed to be embarking on because no one knows what tomorrow holds. No one knows the exact criteria or how the government funding for businesses is awarded. I have had no response but I have applied for lots them. We have rent to account for and soon paying salaries will be a problem. Some might consider having a mobile app as a luxury, the impact of this virus is still going to hit us hard. Post Covid-19 I’m certain Wisolve will survive as the world is shifting to a more IT friendly world. ”


Faculty of Accounting and Informatics Alumnus, Andile Sikhakhane who is a Wedding, Events and IMG-20200430-WA0005Corporate Photographer and owner of Uthasho Photographers said: ” This lockdown has disturbed us alot because most people have postponed and cancelled their events. We know that during this pandemic we are required to maintain social distancing.  We haven’t been working since the beginning of the lockdown and we will only work when we are allowed to do so. We hope to continue where we left off. This is just a national hiccup that has affected most of us. We are certain that we will continue to work after lockdown. However, we also know that work will pile up as many people will want to get their lives back to normal.”


Public Relations and Management Alumna, Vuyisile Ngobese owner and founder of Cattleya Bridal and Vuyisile NgobeseEvent Stylist said: ” The COVID-19 lockdown has affected the business in an enormous way. We have brides who can’t come for fittings because of the lockdown. We have found the virtual appointments slightly impossible. It helps to get the bride inhouse because she gets a feel of the fabric of the dress she wants and try it on. We are still going through with virtual appointments to set out a plan for the wedding and to get what style they had in mind. We usually charge for consultations but it’s impossible to charge as clients use their data to call or meet with us. We can’t generate income. Thanks to government’s new regulations that everyone should wear a mask, we saw an opportunity to manufacture masks. We have corporate clients which will keep us going till the end of lockdown. We have lost out on weddings from March and it seems it will be until July. It seems we will go back in business fully in September as there are not so many weddings in winter. “

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