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14/12/12SAB Kickstart lauds winners from Cape Town

Background :
SAB launched its KickStart programme in 1995 as a poverty alleviation programme but it has subsequently become a platform to stimulate sustainable enterprise development. Specifically, KickStart promotes business awareness through training, supplying grants as start-up capital and providing post-training mentorship and assistance during the set-up phase of the business.
Aimed at 18- to 35-year-old entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, over 22 700 existing and budding entrepreneurs have already benefited from KickStart and more than 3 200 business have been started by KickStart participants.

The results speak for themselves.  64% of grant winners from 2001 to 2005 are still in business, with 87% of those who received grants in 2004 and 2005 still operating.   No fewer than 83% of SAB KickStart participants have reported that their businesses are growing and the turnover of KickStart businesses has increased by an average of 375%.  Almost one third of these businesses supply goods and services to SAB. Many of these enterprises have grown into multi-million Rand organisations, employing a significant amount of people.

Cape Town winners in 2012

At the annual awards ceremony recently, the overall winner, as well as the Development Category Winner, came from Cape Town, as well as one of the finalists.

Solani Lidzhade was the Business Category First Place winner.  Her business is Mukoni Software, focused on the development of an array of ICT-related solutions to clients.  Her prize was R250 000.

Solani leant the importance of earning one’s keep as a child growing up in a household with a father “who could sell anything”.  She says this ethic stood her in good stead as it helped her develop discipline when managing her finances.  Originally from Limpopo, Solani moved to Cape Town in 1998 shortly after getting married.  She later worked her way up in the IT industry and says that her venture into entrepreneurship happened purely by chance.  Mukoni Software was started in 2006 and, with no entrepreneurial background of her own, Solani hoped that her father’s business skills would rub off on her.  Her greatest challenge is that the IT industry has several big players which make competition stiff, says Solani.  “I have had to build trust amongst potential clients and prove my credibility.  Many corporate companies don’t have faith in small business and their loyalties lie with existing bigger clients.”

And she’s succeeding in the vast IT landscape by distinguishing Mukoni Software from the rest. “What gives us the edge is innovation. We’ve developed systems of which we own the intellectual property and these are unique and customised for the client – something that has never been done before,” says Solani.  As a result, several larger IT companies have offered to buy her business but Solani knows a good thing and she’s running it.  The business employs 9 full-time staff and 2 on a part-time basis – a vast improvement from a total of 2 employees when it first started out. “SAB KickStart helped me understand what I want to achieve in business and how to get there.  The business skills training offered was vigorous, intense and had a ‘no-nonsense’ approach.”

Edwin Matymza was the Development Category First Place Winner, with Think Branding from Kyahelitsha – a clothing manufacturing company that supplies township schools and churches with branded uniforms.  His prize was R120 000.

Edwin Matymza is young entrepreneur who is always on the lookout for a business opportunity that will help improve circumstances and started Think Branding when the found a gap in the Cape Town marketplace to supply uniforms and clothing to schools and churches.   A Microbiology and Chemistry graduate, he spent a number of years, following his academic studies, gaining work experience and started and ran his own business, specialising in brick-making, in Port Elizabeth.  “I felt trapped working for a company and decided to explore opportunities and do my own thing.”

Now based in Cape Town, the business has taken off with the help of SAB KickStart and mentorship from former SAB KickStarters, the Rani brothers, of the now successful Silulo Ulutho Technologies. “SAB KickStart was a stepping stone into how to run your own business for years to come and has paved the way for me to do this,” says Edwin.  His SAB KickStart grant allowed him to purchase a delivery vehicle and production machines for the business and he says his turnover has increased since participating in the programme.  He is now looking to the future of Think Branding, exploring the opportunities in Cape Town’s townships where clothing manufacturers are not easily accessible.  “I have the chance to tap into a market that has never been tapped into before.”  Edwin says now is a good time to be an entrepreneur.  “To be a successful entrepreneur you need to know your product, never take your eye off the ball and always stay informed about your industry.”

One of the other finalists was also from Cape Town.  Busisiwe Sibande, of E’Catering, offers catering, take-away, events, gift registry, décor and catering equipment services.

At only 28 years of age, Busisiwe Sibande has faced a number of life’s hardships and has overcome them to become a successful young businesswoman operating in Cape Town’s catering industry.  She’s no stranger to taking on what may seem an insurmountable, unattainable task, having cared for her 7 siblings from the age of 16 after the passing of her mother.  “I have experienced some deep personal challenges, but the only way get through them is to never let them get in your way of achieving your dreams.  Support from family and friends can also help to overcome these challenges,” says Busisiwe.

After completing Grade 12 and studying Fashion Design, she had the opportunity to learn about fine dining and took the opportunity to bring local traditional cuisine to Cape Town’s southern suburbs, combining her passion for food and her inner entrepreneur.  Having an unshakable work ethic defines her as a businesswoman.  “You have to make it work for yourself and participate fully in the business, and meet the targets you promise – help yourself first and then see doors opening up.”

Busisiwe says that at some point she found herself and her business in a comfort zone but that SAB KickStart brought her out of it.  “The programme grounded me and tripled by self-confidence and business confidence – I have no fear and a more open mind now helps me to dream bigger and expand on my vision.”  As an entrepreneur she is taking a stand for women in South Africa and encouraging them to do more with their lives.

For more information on Kickstart, go to www.sabkickstart.net.

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