Twenty-five-year-old Sifiso Suling Mathe and co-director Zinhle Loraine Mabizela registered Masande Designs and Construction Solutions (Pty) Ltd in December 2013 and started trading their manufacturing of bricks and construction services in 2015.
“Mzinoni Township where we lived was filled with old, red-brick houses that were falling apart. There was a gap in the market and we took it,” says Mathe.
The Mpumalanga Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (MYEP), a partnership between the South African Breweries through its flagship enterprise development programme SAB KickStart, and the Mpumalanga Provincial Government has just seen Masande Design and Construction Solutions being chosen as one of nine winners of MYEP to receive valuable business development support and funding.
MYEP is supported by the Mpumalanga Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industries SA, the Gert Sibande TVET College Centre of Entrepreneurship, SEDA, as well as the National Youth Development Agency, who all contribute to developing and supporting youth entrepreneurs in Mpumalanga.
“We are working tirelessly to ensure that Mpumalanga youth are also given opportunities to advance their businesses and access opportunities that are available through our partnership with the private sector. We are pleased the youth of Mpumalanga have taken advantage of such opportunities to develop and grow their businesses,” says Lemmy Mdluli, Mpumalanga Economic Development and Tourism’s Chief Director: Integrated Economic Development Services.
The nine winners received R40 000 each in seed capital and high-level business mentoring and support. The winning entrepreneurs were selected after live pitching clinics from among 150 entrepreneurs who took part in one of the three-day bootcamps held in the Gert Sibande, Nkangala and Ehlanzeni districts of Mpumalanga.
Today Masande Designs and Construction Solutions has two permanent and four part-time employees and manufactures bricks from recycled fly ash, sand and a special kind of cement that is ‘our secret recipe that gives our bricks extra strength’ according to Mathe. It is Mathe and Mabizela’s vision to service the entire Gert Sibande region by June 2017, and the whole of Africa in five years’ time.
Challenges faced by the company include the theft of its products, insufficient manufacturing space, business mentorship and funding and it is these issues that Mathe intends tackling with the support of MYEP.
“SAB’s enterprise development support is aligned with South Africa’s national economic development priorities and MYEP is another partnership that allows us the privilege of working with government to identify youth-owned businesses that will contribute to South Africa’s regional or national economic development and job creation,” says Simphiwe Mntambo, SAB Enterprise Development Specialist responsible for Youth Business.