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.
Owner: Bulelwa Maponya
Business: Dawn Park Pharmacy
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.