With the funds from the GEP we have been able to acquire earthworks equipment and we believe that investment will take to the next level of our growth path.

Isisekelo Engineering Services

Business:Isisekelo Engineering Services

Sector: Engineering Sector

Finance: Expansion Finance

Isisekelo Engineering Services is a civil, structural, and mechanical engineering company based in Tshwane. They provide services that range from engineering design to construction. Founder and CEO, Sicelo Myeni founded the company in 2018 after spending many years as a resident engineer and mine manager mainly in the mining sector, where he worked for prominent companies such as Anglo Gold Ashanti, Exxaro and Rio Tinto.

“I realised that the engineering sector has very few black owned companies, and after my long stint in the corporate sector decided to start my own business. I invested a lot of my own capital to start the business because I believed I could make it work” says Myeni. Myeni has lived up to his self-belief, Isisekelo’s first client was Universal Coal for a turnkey project to design and construct a pollution control dams for their waste discard facility and Roodekop opencast mining operation. After that break, the company has not looked back and is creating a name for itself in mining sector especially the highly specialized niche market of waste facilities design, civil and mechanical construction services.

“This area of civil and mechanical engineering is dominated by white owned companies, and while there are black companies in civil engineering, most are in the construction of houses and roads, we have thus created a niche market for ourselves particularly in the design and construction of waste facilities and mining infrastructure” explains Myeni.

The company is registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) as level 6 for mechanical, civil, and building engineering work. It employs twenty (20) permanent employees and depending on projects, often employs more on fixed term contracts.

Myeni approached the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) for funding to source equipment to help grow the company’s asset base and to improve the cost effectiveness of Isisekelo. “We were spending a lot of money renting equipment for earthworks due to the nature of our work, and we believe it is more cost effective for us to own equipment, hence we approached the GEP. With the funds sourced from the GEP, we have been able to acquire earthworks equipment and we believe that this investment will take us to the next level of our growth path” says Myeni.

Myeni’s immediate goal is to grow the company and it make it more sustainable, so it can be less susceptible to cash flow challenges. “We are looking at sourcing longer term contracts that will make easier to predict and manage cash flow. The company is building a portfolio of clients across the country including the Northern Cape and the North West. “We are fabricating a conveyor structure and supplying mechanical equipment for Kudumane Manganese Resources to install at their Northern Cape mining operation. We are also doing waste facilities design work for Bushveld Vametco Alloys mining operation in the North West, and we have clients like Evander Gold Mining in Mpumalanga” he says.
Myeni believes that access to capital is the biggest barrier of entry into the market. “There are very few black companies in the industry, partly because of skills set and experience but mainly because the industry is very capital intensive.

Clients are not prepared to pay high upfront deposits for awarded work, and banks will look at your balance sheet and decline your funding application. In addition to that, small businesses must contend with unfavourable payment terms in some cases. It is thus very important that there is support for businesses that are seeking to enter and grow in the sector” he concludes.

The funds we received from the GEP have helped rebuild my business and save jobs. It has allowed me to continue serving the community that depends on us so much and live my oath as a health care provider.

Bulelwa Maponya

Owner: Bulelwa Maponya

Business: Dawn Park Pharmacy

Sector: Pharmaceutical

Employees: 6

Product: Gauteng Rebuilding Fund

Impact of funds: Dawn Park Pharmacy was looted in July 2021. Bulelwa has used the funds to replace damaged and stolen equipment and build up the stock levels. Since the reopening of her business, sales per month have now increased by 40%, and she is looking forward to using this as a springboard to growing her business even further.

Gauteng Rebuilding fund helping SMMEs get back on track

Pharmacist and Entrepreneur Bulelwa (Dunywa) Maponya is the owner of Dawn Park Pharmacy, based in Dawn Park, near Boksburg, Ekurhuleni. The pharmacy, which employs six, serves communities from Dawn Park, Vila-liza, Windmill Park, Klippoortjie, Vosloorus, Leondale and Rondebult and is the only pharmacy within the 8km radius of its location.

Maponya founded the pharmacy in 2017 after saving for several years for the start-up capital required for the business. “ It took a lot of work for me to save the amount that I believed at the time would be enough to start this business. I worked on weekends and holidays doing locums and sacrificed many personal comforts in order to start the business,” she explains. As she started with the initial steps of starting the pharmacy, she realized that what she had saved was still nowhere near what she needed to get the business going. The process of raising further funds was one of the more challenging periods in her business. “Even with collateral and my own owners’ equity, it was still very difficult to source enough funding to finally open the pharmacy; however, I was determined to make it happen, particularly because I knew there is a desperate need for quality and affordable healthcare services in some communities. Through the support of my family, we opened doors in 2017. As a fledgling business, we have had many ups and downs but none so devastating as the looting that took place in 2021,” she says.

In July 2021, when the country was engulfed by looting, the pharmacy was not spared and was looted and damaged along with most of the businesses at the Dawn Park Shopping Centre. “A pharmacy is essentially its stock. We lost almost all our entire stock, all our electronic and electrical equipment and even specialized equipment such as the vaccine fridges were stolen. After the looting, we could not trade for the next month and a half”.

Maponya applied to the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) for the Gauteng Rebuilding Fund. “The funds we received from the GEP have assisted rebuild my business, and save jobs, as well allowed me to continue serving the community that depends on us so much and live my oath as a health care provider”, she explains.

The rebuilding fund is the Gauteng provincial government’s response to the unprecedented challenges facing small businesses in the wake of COVID-19 and looting that affected  SMMEs in Gauteng. The  R100m fund is a partnership between the GEP and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Maponya has used the funds to replace damaged and stolen equipment and build up the stock levels. She is looking forward to growing her business even further. Since the reopening of her business, sales per month have now increased by 40%. “I  am very encouraged by the ongoing recovery of the business and have set an ambitious but attainable revenue goal for the business, and that it to grow our monthly sales by 50% in the next year or two.

I believe that even after the most difficult period for our business, growth is on the cards.

Solly Mojapelo

Owner: Mr. Solly Mojapelo

Business: Carnival Biscuits

Sector: Retail and Manufacturing

Employees: 16

Product: Gauteng Rebuilding Fund

Impact of funds: On 13 July 2021, the Carnival Biscuits retail outlet at Bara Mall, Soweto, was looted and completely vandalised. The business lost all its stock and all its movable equipment. In addition to theft, the store was damaged and flooded. Mojapelo applied for the Rebuilding Fund and his store was able to get it back to full trading before his busiest festive season period.

Growth on the Cards after GEP intervention

It was over 21 years ago when Solly Mojapelo, a teacher of English and Economics and his wife Rose, a chemical analyst, teamed up to turn what was then only a hobby into a successful business. Rose, a talented baker, and Solly, the budding salesman, realised that they could make a decent additional income from the demand for baked goods in the community.

“I used to sell cakes made from our domestic stove to my colleagues, and after school, I would always have deliveries to make, and we soon realised that with more effort, the business had the potential to grow. It was at this point that, much to the surprise of many that I took a plunge to leave my teaching job to run Carnival Biscuits full time”, explains Solly Mojapelo.

Today Carnival Biscuits has two retail stores and a manufacturing unit. The business employs 16 people. In addition to the directly employed personnel, the business has a profit-sharing programme with individual sellers who make a living by selling their products.

Mojapelo, who hails from Diepkloof, Soweto, realised that scaling the business to its current size would mean a change in their product lineup, and as a result the business turned its focus into biscuits. In 2001, the first retail store was opened at the Highgate Mall.

“We were not just content with making biscuits; we wanted to make the best biscuits. We essentially had our own product development and innovation unit, where we developed our own unique recipes,” explains Mojapelo.

As all businesses do, Carnival Biscuits has experienced its highs and lows. One of their most significant highs was winning the contract to supply long-distance bus company, Greyhound, with biscuits. “Winning the Greyhound contract was a pinnacle for us. It helped improve our quality standards, and we could create more jobs for the people in our community, says Mojapelo. In 2007, we opened our manufacturing space at the Crown Mines” adds Mojapelo.

In 2009, they opened the second retail outlet in Bara Mall.
It, therefore, came as a big blow to Carnival Biscuits when Greyhound announced that it would be closing its doors in February 2021. “Greyhound was our biggest client. The impact of their closure was devastating to us. However, we were still determined to keep the business going and find new customers”, Says Mojapelo.

2021 still had far more in store for the business. On Monday 12 July the Bara Mall Carnival Biscuits retail outlet was looted and completely vandalised. The business lost all its stock and all its movable equipment. In addition to theft, the store was vandalised with electrical and telephone cables ripped from the walls. The shop was also flooded causing thousands of rands worth of damage and leaving the store unable to trade for an extended period.

Mojapelo applied to the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller for the Gauteng Rebuilding Fund.

The funds he received from the Gauteng Rebuilding Fund helped the business get back to trading in time for its business period, the festive season. It has helped stabilise cash flow, replace damaged equipment, and just return to normal trading. Mojapelo draws lessons from this experience: “Our business was not insured, today even a spoon is insured”, he states.

Mojapelo is determined to get the business back on a growth path. “I believe that even after the most difficult period for our business, growth is on the cards for Carnival Biscuits”.

My goal was to establish myself as a serious player in an industry that does not have a lot of black businesses, let alone black-women owned businesses.

Rachael Gaffane

Owner: Rachael Gaffane

Business: Danchi Group

Sector: Steel Manufacturing

Employees:13

Product: Expansion Finance (Working Capital)

Meet Rachael Gaffane, owner of the Danchi Group, a steel manufacturing business in Tshwane.

Racheal Gaffane has always had an eye for opportunity. As a primary school pupil in Mamelodi, Tshwane, she sold sweets to her fellow schoolmates, and that continued through high school, where she even dabbled in money lending, landing her in hot water a couple of times.

Today Gaffane owns and runs Danchi Group, a steel manufacturing business that employs thirteen (13) people in Silvertondale in the East of Pretoria. The Danchi Group manufactures steel components for the automotive and rail transport industries, including bushings, spacers, pins, pivots, and steel fabricated products such as columns, scaffolding, sheeting, conveyor structures and shafts. The company also refurbishes steel components for its clients in the various industries it supports.

“My first job was as an Office assistant in a beauty business, and it did not take long for me to learn about the beauty sector, after which I started the first mobile beauty business in Mamelodi, employing six people. However, even though the business started well, the business eventually failed and taught me a lot about pitfalls in business,” says Gaffane.

After that experience, Gaffane decided to go back to the corporate world. “I did very well in the corporate sector, but I always longed for more. It was the entrepreneurial bug that always got the best of me as I continued to sell an assortment of products from the boot of my car as a “side hustle”.
In 2017, she decided to restart her entrepreneurial journey in an entirely new sector, construction. “I started my company by pitching a crazy idea to an established company my father worked for: “renting a desk and reselling their products”.

My sales and cold calling skills were crucial in helping me convince the business to rent me the space and assured them that I could sell their products. My goal was to establish myself as a serious player in an industry that does not have a lot of black businesses, let alone black-women owned businesses,” recalls Gaffane. Through her tenacity, she was able to use this humble start as a springboard to establish relationships with industry giants such as Komatsu, Timken, Aveng Trident Steel, Kaefer and grow her company.

Though she made strides in the sector, the business was still confronted with many challenges, including shrinking margins and slowing revenue. In 2020, Gaffane sought to reposition the group from constructing steel products to steel components manufacturing. This change required significant capital investment of machinery and equipment. “The onset of COVID-19 worsened the difficulties in the construction sector, and I was convinced that the company required a change of direction not only to survive but to grow,” says Gaffane.

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller came on board to assist the company in its quest for growth by providing funding for working capital. “In the past year, we invested a lot in equipment, and the support from GEP will help us operationalize that investment, she stated. This was not the first the GEP has had come on board, in 2017, as she was starting up, the GEP helped her company with marketing material, a laptop and a printer.

Gaffane has a passion for the industry and artisans that are its backbone. “My father was an artisan, and I saw firsthand how underappreciated he was even though his work was so pivotal, today he is part of our team here at Danchi, and we are making strides to create the best possible environment for artisans,” she explains. The support from GEP will help them to immediately create four more jobs, and in the future the plan is to expand to twenty-five jobs. Danchi has recently been crowned the winner of the 2021 Eskom Business Investment award, further proving that Gaffane’s goal to be a serious player in this sector is well on its course.

Background

Location: 240 Khayalethu, Khutsong Location, Carletonville
Corridor: West Rand
Sector: Clothing and Retail

BUSINESS PROFILE / BACKGROUND
Azishenism Culture is a clothing design and retail business based in Khutsong. The brand highlights the rich history of South Africa in expressing the voice of the youth in fashion. The company has two (2) stores in Khutsong and offers clothing and textile services which include crafting of leather bags, shoes, belts and clothing printing.

Challenges

The business location was the biggest challenge, as the township people in the area rely mostly on mining for employment. With most mines being closed, unemployment rate in the area has increased which impacts on sales.

Solution

In 2018, the entrepreneur won a prize in the GEP Fashion and Textile Pitching Booster, as well as the Township Entrepreneurship Awards within the people in disability category.

Results

THE OUTCOME
Following the programmes, the business expanded with an additional shop in Khutsong, and purchased equipment to assist with faster production. It further managed to purchase a van which assists in travelling to various exhibitions and markets in the province, the business experienced an increase in turnover. In addition, the prize money from the Township Entrepreneurship Awards and Pitching Boosters was channeled
towards a two-year certificate course in Fashion Design.

EMPLOYMENT CREATION
The staff complement increased from two (2) temporary staff to four (4) permanent employees. Business plans are in place for the recruitment of two (2) additional employees to assist with the designing of clothing.

Background

Location: White City, Jabavu, Soweto
Corridor: Central / Johannesburg
Sector: Manufacturing

The business was founded by a young, ambitious entrepreneur who has always been passionate about entrepreneurship. Mr Nicolas Rantekoa graduated from selling fat cakes, mealies and snacks while in Primary School to formally establishing a bakery. This young entrepreneur identified a gap in the bakery industry when the price of bread shot up in 2016 and was motivated to open his own bakery.

This entrepreneur was one of the 2018 Township Entrepreneurship Awards winners in both the Start-Up, as well as the Entrepreneur of the year Categories. Other achievements included being a finalist for 702 Radio and Datsun Go small business competition, StartupAFRICA Entrepreneur of the Week Online Magazine, 22 On Sloane Winner of residence competition, 2017 Premier Service Excellence Awards Gold Award Winner under category of inclusive Economy and Winner Young Entrepreneur of Year 2018.

Challenges

The business had limited production capacity, financial resources and market access.

Solution

Through the Township Entrepreneurship Awards, the business received financial support which enabled the business to secure a second vehicle to enhance distribution.

Results

THE OUTCOME
Borotho bakery started by selling twenty (20) loaves a day, now capacity has since increased to over three hundred (300) loaves daily, resulting in a significant growth in monthly turnover and market share.

EMPLOYMENT CREATION
The bakery currently has six(6) employees.

Background

Location: Khutsong Area, Mamelodi East, Pretoria
Corridor: Tshwane
Sector: Hospitality

Noxolo Guest House was registered in 2007; it consists three (3) guest houses, two (2) of which are located in Khutsong and one (1) in Khutsong extension. The business has experienced growth since its establishment, with its first guest house being graded by Tshwane Tourism as four (4) star accommodations and received a highly-recommended accommodation certificate from AA Quality Assurance.

The company is registered on the database of Tshwane Tourism, Ford Motor Company, Mamelodi Day Hospital and SPAR Supermarket. The business has accommodated clients from across the globe, guests from countries such as Holland, Argentina, Germany, London and Norway. Noxolo Guest House is marketed using word-of-mouth, referrals, and street tourism signage for the Bed and Breakfast (B&B).

Challenges

The business lacked equipment and they had difficulty in adequately marketing its services.

Solution

The interventions provided by GEP was development of Marketing Tools and implementation of Financial Management System. Through GEP’s Township Business Renewal Programme was assisted with Grant funding to purchase equipment.

Results

The Outcome
Following GEP’s support, the business turnover doubled and they were able to access a larger tourism clientele.

Employment creation
The business employs three (3) employees, with two (2) being permanent and one (1) employed on a temporary basis.

Background

Location: 5897 ZONE 12, Sebokeng, 1983
Corridor: Sedibeng
Sector: Automotive

Mabizwa Fitment Centre is a cooperative which operates from its own premises in Sebokeng. The business provides Wheel Alignment, Wheel Balancing, Shocks and Brake Pad fitting as well as replacement services. The business provides are service to motorists who require motor vehicle spare part, fitment services and replacement in Sebokeng and surrounding areas

Challenges

Business growth was hampered by the lack of equipment and tools.

Solution

The entity benefited from the GEP Township Business Renewal Programme which enabled the purchase of equipment and tools required by the business.

Results

THE OUTCOME
Following GEP’s intervention, the business recognised the need for a business plan and is in the process of obtaining assistance the development. This will outline its short and medium term goals, as well as assist in the application for Retail Motor Industry accreditation.

EMPLOYMENT CREATION
The business employs six (6) people, this includes the two (2) owners and (4) permanent employees.

Background

Location: 1517 Shop 1, Clinic Street, Toekomsrus
Corridor: West Rand
Sector: Manufacturing

Toekomsrus Bread Pitt Bakery (Pty) Ltd is a start-up bakery business based in Randfontein. The business was established and registered as a legal business entity in March 2018. It offers a wide range of quality bakery and confectionary products such as, white and brown bread, soft, cheese, garlic, plain and brown rolls. Its target market consists of households, restaurants and local retailers.

Challenges

Toekomsrus Bread Pitt Bakery lacked marketing tools to promote its services to prospective clients.

Solution

The business applied for GEP non-financial support, the business was assisted and then provided with marketing materials which included signage board, flyers, vehicle magnets, price lists and business cards in order to enhance visibility and marketing of the business.

Results

THE OUTCOME
Due to the GEP intervention the business managed to grow its clientele in and around Randfontein; as well as a significant increase in turnover, foot print and access new markets.

EMPLOYMENT CREATION
The business has sixteen (16) permanent employees.

Background

Location: Plot 49, Tweefontein, Cullinan,
Corridor: Tshwane
Sector: Agriculture (Poultry)

Makwande Primary Cooperative Limited was established in Cullinan by five (5) members with a common goal of farming broiler chickens. All members are active in the day-to-day running of the business, the cooperative farms broiler chickens are sold or slaughtered for different customers, including retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay among others as well as individual community members.

Challenges

There were high levels of crime around the community which led to break-ins that resulted in the loss of farming equipment, therefore the cooperative lacked equipment.

Solution

Makwande Primary Cooperative Limited was assisted with a grant funding through the GEP Cooperative Assistance Programme (CAP) for purchasing of equipment.

Results

THE OUTCOME
After the GEP intervention, the business turnover increased by R50 000 per annum; and the business has since managed to expand its client base.

EMPLOYMENT CREATION
Five (5) members of the cooperative are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.