Building capacity in the SMME sector

Business Skills for South Africa

Young entrepreneur now helping others

A young woman from Polokwane has proven that age is no impediment when it comes to building a successful business, and then assisting others in developing their own enterprises.

At the tender age of 37, Tsakani Masia has achieved the dream of many an entrepreneur – she has established a thriving business, and after completing BSSA business skills training courses, is now also a network facilitator for the Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP) of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

Tsakani was only 30 when she founded Nakiseni Business Enterprise in 2004. Her company started off supplying stationery and catering, but as it grew, expanded into construction and trucking, and more recently, the manufacture of cleaning products. The Northern Chemicals Manufacturers and Suppliers (Norchem) factory is based in Shayandima in the Vhembe district of Limpopo.

In 2008, Tsakani’s business excellence was rewarded when Norchem won a category award in the then FNB Enablis Business Launchpad competition, the biggest contest of its kind in Africa. In 2009, the young go-getter won the enterprise development category in the Vhembe District Municipality Youth in Business Competition.

Tsakani underwent BSSA business skills training between September 2010 and January 2011.

“Since then, my business has really taken off. We were taught how to run and grow a business, how to read financial statements, and how to ensure a business is profitable,” she says.

“Before the training, I was just making sure I wasn’t running at a loss, but now, I understand how to actually make a profit. My business turnover has increased markedly since the training,” she says.

Nakiseni Business Enterprise now employs 50 people. The company has acquired a Galito’s Flame Grilled Chicken franchise, due to open in Lephalale in Limpopo in March 2012, and a security company is also in the pipeline.

What gives Tsakani the most satisfaction, however, is being able to assist other entrepreneurs through the dti’s BBSDP, a cost-sharing grant aimed at assisting enterprises in improving their competitiveness and sustainability.

“After the BSSA training, I was accredited by the dti as a BBSDP network facilitator. We’ve since then submitted applications for grants from around 30 enterprises to the dti.”

She has had to employ three additional staff members to assist her in her role as a facilitator, and plans to appoint more in the near future.

“It gives me great joy to not only see my own business growing as a consequence of my BSSA training, but also to see other young entrepreneurs receiving assistance from the dti through our role as a network facilitator,” she says.

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