Partnership to boost township businesses

The Department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) has partnered retail giant Pick n Pay and ABSA bank in an ambitious R4.5 million project to bolster township businesses.

Destea MEC Makalo Mohale yesterday announced the partnership seeks to loosen the grip which multinationals have on the township economy and to enable new entrants to thrive.

He said the revitalisation of the township economy is the centre-piece of the department’s Enterprise Support Programme, aimed at ensuring that the local economy remains in the hands of local entrepreneurs.

“Township business ownership by locals has been diminishing over the years due to the influx of big retailers and foreign owned shops in the townships,” he pointed out.

“Concerned by what local business call ‘hi-jacking’ of the township economy, Destea engaged with some of these major retailers on how the situation can be addressed,” noted Mohale.

The R4.5 million deal entered into with Pick n Pay and ABSA seeks to help stimulate Kasi businesses and ensure their self-sustenance.

“We engaged with these multinationals to find out how we could loosen their tight grip on the township economy which is effectively throttling and chocking some of the traditional township businesses. We have to put the brakes on this takeover and return the sector to its rightful owners,” the MEC pointed out.

The deal includes having Pick n Pay and ABSA establishing what is called ‘Pick n Pay Market Store’. According to Mohale, the concept combines the support of Pick n Pay’s supply chain, with the store owners allowed to procure certain locally produced items directly from suppliers.

Mohale said the formal convenience store requires proof of ownership or lease of a 350 square metre facility and a potential of creating at least 15 jobs.

Applicants wishing to access the new scheme should be entrepreneurs with identifiable track record and demonstrate willingness to contribute their skills, time, and money into the business.

The facilities are earmarked for Sasolburg, Welkom, Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Virginia.

Following a careful study of retail patterns in the township, Destea has developed a Distribution and Wholesale Programme, to provide bulk buying support for informal businesses in the townships.

Mohale indicated the distribution and wholesale opportunity is meant for local wholesalers and distributors currently in business and looking to upscale. Those who have run a successful organised business for over three years or Stokvel with credible business, organisational and financial acumen, are also considered

Destea hopes to empower a maximum of seven enterprises through the programme.

Applications for both opportunities are open and Free State entrepreneurs with a valid South African Identity Document and willing to subject themselves to assessment and adjudication by Destea or its partners are encouraged to apply.

By: Ramosidi Matekane