Thanks to substantial financial support received this year from the Ekurhuleni Peermont Chambers of Commerce Trust (EPCoCT), a BBBEE vehicle within the Peermont Hotels, Casinos and Resorts Group, three small businesses in Tembisa can look forward to a brighter 2019.
The three concerns, IAF Brands, Tembisa Print and Masinga Embroiders and Crafters, collectively received over R1-million in funding which all three businesses used to purchase much-needed new machinery to increase productivity, improve profits and create more jobs.
IAF Brands used its R424 092 to augment the R178 863 provided by owner Bulelani Balabala to purchase a 1625 MM sublimation printer with Versaworks soft ink and accessories as part of the company’s growth strategy.
Having started out as Intercessor Army Franchising CC in 2006, branding garments for matric students, Bulelani, with no training or knowledge of operating a computer, diversified and opened an internet café at his parents’ house in Hospital View.
Seeing a gap in the local market he then ventured into the printing business, which subsequently led him to discover a need for brand development in the Tembisa business community and beyond, resulting in the establishment of IAF Brands.
“On the brand development front, we assist clients with services like graphic design, creating corporate identities, establishing marketing strategies and offering brand workshops for management.
“From an online perspective we can assist clients with web design, managing their social media platforms, launching digital marketing campaigns and devise online strategies,” said Bulelani.
Also in a bid to expand, Sipho and Pontsho Masinga, who started Masinga Embroiders and Crafters at 135 Ehlanzeni Section in Tembisa in 2014, approached the trust at the beginning of the year for funding of R270 339.
The grant was approved and the Masingas purchased a Mootoon dye sublimation generation clamshell heat press and sewing machines and component parts, which is a huge step up for them from the small domestic embroidery machine they started with when they noticed there was no one in their area doing embroidery.
“Where in the past we had to outsource our textile sewing, for example making buttonholes on garments, we can now do in-house, saving time and money. This puts us in a position to not only cater to the local community’s crafting and embroidery needs but also gives us the capacity to service big businesses. Apart from embroidery and crafting, we can now also print on T-shirts, mugs, plates and banners and offer a wide range of corporate gifts, wedding invitations and other gifts,” added Pontsho.
Since getting the new machines, they have employed four extra staff members.
The final Tembisa grant beneficiary, Buti Ramahuma, is a former employee of Emperors Palace.
While Buti worked at the casino and resort as a dealer, he discovered his love for graphic design and set about teaching himself all he could in the field. Once he was proficient in Corel Draw design software, Photoshop and web design, he decided to venture into the printing business, opening Tembisa Print in a garage at 1 Virgo Street, Maokeng Section in Tembisa in 2015.
Ramahuma realised there was room to expand his offering and approached the trust for funding of R392 152. This was granted and enabled him to purchase a Roland 1370 Wide Versacam print and cut machine and an INEO Colour multi-function printer.
“Thanks to the help from Peermont and the new machines, things are easier and we can do everything ourselves, improving service delivery to our clients and increasing profits,” he added.
“One of the main aims of the EPCoCT and the grants we allocate is to create jobs and make a positive impact on the lives of the people of Ekurhuleni. By supporting IAF Brands, Masinga Embroiders and Crafters and Tembisa Print, we believe we are making a difference,” said the trust’s administrator, Makomane Ntabo.
Since inception in 2008, the trust has given over R25-m in grants, assisting more than 50 small and micro businesses in Ekurhuleni.