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African Bank gets small businesses mobile

This month the five small-business owners of SOS Construction and Projects; 24 Propellers; Raphela K Construction; Abo Choma and Dipalopalo received an early Christmas present, courtesy of African Bank.

Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied
Edna Montse, African Bank’s new chief of staff and head confirms that African Bank gifted each of them with a vehicle.

"The vehicle donations form part of the bank’s transformation and sustainability strategy. We believe we have a responsibility to engage with businesses in the communities in which we live and work, and each of the five small businesses selected already interface with our branch-network by providing electrical-, plumbing-, construction and general-maintenance services,” she says.

She explained that the bank had five vehicles that they normally would have sold on, but instead of selling them, this seemed like such an ideal opportunity to donate them to help empower these small business owners.

“We really understand how much courage and capital is needed to stay in business these days, and what better way to empower the businesses than through the donation of a vehicle which will make them more mobile and help them to grow and expand their own small footprint.”

Montse is adamant that the group’s evolving enterprise and supplier development strategy needs to be more than just a tick box.

Transformation and sustainability

“We have to move purposefully towards a more inclusive and empowered marketplace to upscale and sustain entrepreneurs and small-business suppliers with whom we partner. That necessitates that our vision of enhancing lives needs to extend beyond just our customers and staff, but also to our supplier network as well.”

One of the recipients, Limpopo-based SOS Construction, a small business employing six people, says the donation of the van will make things so much easier to expand into Mpumalanga instead of having to incur costly rental costs. The business only has one vehicle at present and this is used to drop employees at various sites which is often challenging and inhibits growth and efficiency.

Ronald Chabalala, who heads 24 Propellers and employs 14 staff, agrees that the addition of an extra vehicle will really help the business respond and perform better in its service delivery. “We are involved with air conditioning, refrigeration and maintenance - and just the addition of one extra vehicle will make the world of difference,” he says.

Abo Choma, a small electrical and general-maintenance company, also battles with reliable transport and the vehicle will assist the team to expand their footprint into Mpumalanga.

Staff transport a necessity

Lack of transport for staff and the mobility needed to facilitate growth appear to be general challenges for many small businesses. A similar constraint was expressed by the owners of Rhapela K Construction that does general building maintenance, deep cleaning and mechanical air-conditioning repair.

“We employ a total of four people and one of our challenges has always been transport. The vehicle and the subsequent staff transport will help our business grow - and the money we save from usually having to hire a vehicle can be used to buy equipment rather,” say owners Kgopotso Raphela and Thomas Ramakgoakgoa.

“We appreciate that SMMEs are really the driving force of the South African economy, and any small actions to stimulate growth and sustainability in this sector will have multiple positive spin-offs for our economy. We feel very fortunate that we were in a position to make a meaningful difference in the lives of these enterprising small businesses,” says Montse.

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