Mokopane – The small business sector in Limpopo received a massive boost this week when 44 young entrepreneurs were the recipients of customised Bizniz in a Box (BIB) solutions from which to run their enterprises.
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), which runs the BiB entrepreneurship programme, had selected the young business owners from the communities of Lebowakgomo, Mookgopong, Mokopane, Thohoyandou and Modimolle to receive the business solution.
The provincial initiative was celebrated at an event in Mokopane on Wednesday, in partnership with the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET).
Bizniz in a Box is a custom-designed shipping container, from which micro-businesses can operate and provide essential services to their communities. The containerised businesses range from business centres providing internet access, car washes, fast-food shops or mini bakeries.
CCBSA established its Bizniz in a Box initiative in 2015 with the purpose of addressing sustainable development of township and rural businesses, by upskilling and supporting youth and female entrepreneurs in underprivileged communities.
Since inception, CCBSA has provided over 800 BiB solutions to entrepreneurs all across South Africa. As part of the initiative, CCBSA and its partners also train recipients in essential business skills and to date, over 400 have managed to successfully grow their businesses on the back of receiving the BiB and training. Additionally, the programme has created 185 additional jobs by employing shop assistants.
Nozicelo Ngcobo, CCBSA’s Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director said “We are committed to supporting and growing the small and medium-sized business sector as this is a key economic driver and creator of jobs, particularly for a developing country such as ours”
“We recognise the deep challenge of unemployment, particularly among our youth, and believe that through initiatives such as Bizniz in a Box we can empower people and contribute to the socio-economic development of our communities and country at large.”
The latest unemployment figures contained in Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for Q2 showed that the official unemployment rate stood at 33,9%, while the rate for youth (aged 15-34) stood at 66,5%.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a weekly letter to South Africa in Youth Month in June, lamented: “No society can expect to grow or thrive when the vast majority of its young people are out of work. Our foremost priority as government is to achieve higher rates of inclusive growth that generate sustainable jobs at the scale of social need.”
According to Ngcobo, “no prior business qualification is needed. However, candidates must have some form of entrepreneurial experience and reside in the area where they intend to run their business.
“The successful candidates attend a four-week workshop, receiving critical skills training in business studies, including financial planning and marketing,” Ngcobo added.
The first BiB roll-out in Limpopo took place in conjunction with the Polokwane Local Municipality in 2021 and there has been further roll-outs in the Seshego and Mankweng areas under the Capricorn District Municipality.
“We are being very deliberate about creating meaningful opportunities for young people and integrating them in the economy,” Ngcobo added. “The ultimate aim is to contribute towards revitalising our township and rural economies and supporting the country’s development agenda.”
CCBSA has partnered with national and provincial governments, local municipalities and development finance institutions to help roll out the BiB programme across South Africa.
The BiB project roll-out commences with a recruitment drive at selected townships or villages, where town hall information sessions are held to register interested youth and other aspiring entrepreneurs. The assessment and selection of candidates incorporates a “Do-Teach” model in which candidates are assessed and given clarity on the rigorous nature of being a successful entrepreneur.
Successful candidates are required to agree to a repayment of a predetermined amount for the set-up costs, after which ownership of a container spaza shop is transferred to successful candidates.