Through the recently launched Barloworld Siyakhula Incubation Hub (BSIH), enterprise and supplier development within the Barloworld group is set for a major boost.
A bold partnership between Barloworld and the Department of Trade & Industry (dti), the initiative aims to build world-class, black-owned SMEs within the group’s value chain while promoting transformation. Youth-owned businesses are one of the Hub’s key focus areas.
“At Barloworld, we believe in investing in the future of South Africa” says Matthew Govender, MD of Barloworld Siyakhula. “Building young entrepreneurs is vital to ensuring the future growth and sustainability of our country.”
Through the BSIH, Barloworld aims to incubate approximately 20 – 40 SMEs per annum over an initial 3-year period, helping up to 120 businesses become sustainable, value-adding suppliers.
Babinakosha Construction & Projects, co-owned by 25-year-old Keitumetse Mokoena, has signed on as one of the inaugural class of inductees. A provider of maintenance services for construction, equipment and roads, Babinakosha was inducted into the programme through its client partner, Avis Fleet.
Mokoena says that since joining the programme in 2016, she hasn’t looked back. “This programme has been an amazing experience” declares the 25-year-old former law student from Benoni. “Not only has the Hub improved my business – they’ve boosted my self-confidence as well.”
Mokoena has recently completed training through the BSIH aimed at boosting her business management and entrepreneurial skills. As a result of this support, she believes that she is now equipped to leverage other opportunities.
“I feel like I’m now ready to take the business to greater heights,” she says.
For Wame Keitumetse, the BSIH has proven invaluable for shaping her career. A former Admin Assistant at the Hub, Keitumetse was recently promoted to a full-time position within Barloworld’s IT Department. She believes that her time at the BSIH was crucial to her professional development.
“The Barloworld Siyakhula Incubation Hub has taught me a great deal about managing business relationships – and about teamwork and collaboration” says Keitumetse. “I believe that I’ve been well-prepared for the business world.”
Shinaaz Zoutenberg, co-director of Hyperlink Distributions, lauds the BSIH for its focus on fostering excellence among its beneficiaries. Her Durban-based company provides transport and logistics services to the FMCG, manufacturing and petrochemical industries.
“It’s not often that you find an organisation so committed to developing young businesspeople” confides Zoutenberg. “I feel really privileged to be a part of this initiative.”
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For 32-year-old Aubrey Mabulane, the launch of the Hub has shown Barloworld’s commitment not only to training young entrepreneurs – but to providing market access. Through his firm, Mabulane I.T., Aubrey was recently awarded a supply contract with the BSIH, affording him the opportunity to install the computers, telephones, servers and networking equipment which are pivotal to the Hub’s operations.
“The BSIH has provided me with an invaluable business opportunity in a very competitive marketplace” says Mabulane, a former employee of Barloworld’s I.T. department.
“It’s rare that a young black entrepreneur is entrusted with contracts of this scale. I’m looking forward to building upon this partnership.”
Through the BSIH, eligible SMEs receive comprehensive support tailored to their development needs. Assistance includes access to markets and finance, workspace, administrative support, training and supplier workshops among other interventions. Incubatees exit the SIH initiative after a period of five years, or upon reaching a turnover of R50 million – whichever comes first.
According to Govender, the Barloworld Siyakhula Incubation Hub (BSIH) has the potential to make a major impact upon the growth of youth-owned businesses in South Africa. “We’re working to make sure that young entrepreneurs and suppliers have the support that they need to succeed” he says. “We want to help foster the next generation of businesses.”