17 August 2019
We recently commissioned a series of interviews with our business owners to determine to what extent we are achieving our objectives. Simply put, these are:
- To develop sustainable micro businesses in the Overstrand
- Grow entrepreneurship
- Build bridges between communities
Judging from the overall feedback received, we are grateful to say that we are on our way to achieving these objectives. Some enterprises are well out of the starting blocks and others are battling. There is no doubt that the economic circumstances surrounding businesses are tough and the winter season has made things particularly difficult. The tenacity of the owners and support of our mentors remain crucial to achieve success.
The results of the interviews with some of the loan recipients provide very helpful insights:
- HS’ financial assistance of a R6 000 interest-free loan in December 2018 enabled one of our recipients to buy a freezer which has enabled her to store stock in bulk. During the first few months her customer base, sales income and profits increased drastically.
- In March a recipient received R4 000 to purchase stock for her Spaza Shop. HS’ financial assistance has helped her to increase the depth and width of her stock range and thereby, to grow her business. Her shop’s income has increased by more than 20% and she is slowly decreasing her debtors’ book. She has improved her margins by purchasing products which are on ‘special’ and has even increased her sales prices to improve profitability.
- A grant of R4,000 was made to enable a recipient to obtain planter boxes, compost and other materials for his vegetable garden in Zwelihle. He is keen to share his knowledge and expertise with others so that they can grow their own vegetables.
- A recipient of a R2,000 loan in March used it to purchase stock for her women’s clothing business. Her number of customers have grown significantly and she says her sales have increased by 60%. Her profit line has also increased because she is able to purchase stock at good prices.
- In May a loan of R10 000 was made to a building contractor to purchase a bakkie for his construction business to transport his workers, building material and equipment. Subsequently his expenses have dropped by 15% because he does not have to hire transport any longer. He feels HS is helping the Zwelihle community “a lot” by aiding the growth of small businesses. He says, “there is hope”.
- A loan of R1,500 in May this year enabled the recipient to purchase stock for her beading business. As a result, her cash flow has improved, and she estimates that her profits have improved by at least 10%. She said HS is “so special because now people can know what to do even though the unemployment rate is too high. We really appreciate HS for the effort you have done for us.”
25 June 2019
Hermanus Siyakha was publicly launched in the middle of March. To date (fourteen weeks) we are delighted to have been able to disburse R 48 500 in small loans to 10 projects. There has been a tremendous response to our request for loans, and we are in the process of assessing a number of new projects which we will be showcasing on the website shortly.
Projects funded to date:
18001 Nolungile (Beauty) Loan R6000 dispersed February 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
18002 Makuhle Projects Loan R6000 dispersed January 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19001 Nolubabalo Nqgoyiyana Loan R4000 dispersed March 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19002 Trevor Nkoyi Donation R4000 dispersed March 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19003 Bongiwe Maku Loan R2000 dispersed April 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19004 Simphiwe Ngqoyiyana Loan R10000 dispersed April 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19005 Novangeli Ncomasa Loan R1500 dispersed April 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19006 Olwethu Petros Loan R6000 dispersed May 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19007 Lulama Kamana Loan R6000 dispersed in June 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19008 William Chiwara Loan R9500 dispersed in July 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
19009 Evas Mugumbate Loan R3000 dispersed in June 2019 kindly click on the applicants name to get the details of this enterprise
It is not appropriate to provide in-depth feedback on each business on this website. Comments from our mentors however indicate significant progress on several fronts:
Report on feedback from Mentors of Hermanus Siyakha’s first four projects
Establishing rapport, trust and confidence; at the outset the mentors set out to establish rapport and trust between themselves and their assigned business owners. The mentors have reported that this has been achieved but it is a work in progress. They have also reported that the confidence levels of the business owners has improved significantly.
Recognition that the micro businesses operate in difficult circumstances: business owners frequently report the need to attend family events, mainly funerals, in the Eastern Cape which places enormous pressure on their finances as well as time away from their businesses. Despite repeated guidance from mentors to separate personal and business finances these business owners are unable to implement this due to cash flow constraints. As a result one business owner is is one month in arrears with her loan repayment and more such occurrences will no doubt happen.
Micro businesses selling food (chicken and pork) experience seasonal as well as monthly fluctuations in demand and this is something that has to be properly planned for.
Mentors have also identified several challenges facing business owners as being deep and varied e.g. communication skills, financial literacy, lack of working capital and planning.
Mentor interventions have changed business owners perceptions and product diversification is taking place; business owners are now assessing their products for profitability and adjusting their product offering accordingly. Businesses (projects 18001 and 18002) are diversifying (e.g. product range now includes Russian sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers). Food is also now being offered in cooked as well as raw form.
The vegetable gardening project (19002) is busy adjusting his product offering to include kayle and micro herbs to better serve the demand at the Saturday organic market.
The one clothes business (project 19003) has added “morning shoes” to her range of dresses.
Sales have increased; business owners have reported a general increase in turnover. One example, the mentor of project 19003 reports that: “The loan from Hermanus Siyakha has enabled the business owner to double her orders and therefore sales as well.
The times of being open for business has increased; business owners are adjusting their trading hours to better suit their customers e.g. project 18001 trades after church on Sundays with her cooked food offerings.
Putting in place basic record and bookkeeping practices; a number of businesses have implemented very basic record keeping e.g. order books, records related to money”in” and money “out”, cash books.
Meetings, agendas,and records of decisions; Masikuhle Projects (project 18002) consists of a group of ladies working together, they now meet more frequently and have a meeting agenda and keep a record of decisions made.
Roles and responsibilities are clearer; the roles and responsibilities of each of the ladies in the Masikuhle Project has been identified and specified.
Infrastructure is more attractive to customers; the mentor of the spaza shop owner (project 19001) has assisted in painting out the shop, putting in shelving and a counter as well as branding and advertising.
Perceptions of mentors themselves are changing; here are a couple of quotes from mentors;
“I have benefited mostly by gaining a greater understanding of how environment, social norms and cultural responsibilities impact daily life in Zwehlihle. Although the cultural setting of my own upbringing is different I can identify with the anxieties they experience in providing for their daily needs”.
“I would say that the benefit to me has been more cultural than anything else as I have seen first-hand how the “other half” lives at close quarters”.
“The sincere sense of community, unselfish sharing and humility have been the biggest revelation to me”
“These business owners just keep on trying and they have such open hearts to their community. I get frustrated with them now and again but then I realize that they think differently about some things. In many ways they are better than me and that’s a challenge. We never stop learning”.
“I’m fascinated by her insights into her business world. Her understanding of her environment, her use of social media and close relationship with her customers are a great example any business owner should be pleased to emulate”.
Report compiled by J. van Niekerk – Head of Mentor Group 3rd July 2019