JOHANNESBURG - As part of Eskom’s corporate social investment programme, the Eskom Development Foundation, through the BIC, is
encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurship by providing a platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to conquer the next major barrier in business development.

The BIC is an annual entrepreneurship competition by Eskom. Black-owned small and medium enterprises in the agriculture and agro processing, construction and engineering, manufacturing and trade and services sectors that have been in operation for at least 24 months are granted entry into the competition.

Lungisupreme Brands SA, LBN Hygiene Solutions, Ductile Plastics and Extruders all took part in the BIC and became the top three finalists in the whole competition.

Managing Director of LBN Hygiene Solutions, Lazola Buntu Nxele started his chemical production company in 2012. The company manufactures a number of household and industrial detergents and also sells protective clothing. The company manufactures 15 different types of products and currently, six of their products are approved by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

The business currently employs four people. They wish to expand their business onto bigger grounds so as to produce more chemicals and create employment. In an attempt to increase their production volumes, LBN Hygiene Solutions has since secured funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), purchased their own equipment and currently produce over 17 000 litres of each product per day.

Ductile Plastics and Extruders is the only black family owned extrusion business, they sources raw plastics for extrusion. The company has been in operation for nine years. The Managing Director, Gerald Barth, recently revamped and rebranded the family business that sells recycled and extruded plastics, this then gave rise to the employment of 42 people.

The plastics that are collected are shredded, melted, hardened and then made into pallets before being sold to converters who make irrigation pipes. From the Eskom expo they learned that they should work on their image, they have since come up with pop-up banners and created their profiles.

They have had an increase in material production from 30 to 80 tons per month after acquiring additional machinery. With the average plastic extrusion business survival rate being a minimum of two and a half years, Ductile Plastics has been thriving in this industry seeing as they
were named first runner-up in the manufacturing sector of the BIC.

Lungispreme Brands SA is a household food and beverage producer which also has a skin care line and they are currently producing facial soap, they have recently moved to bigger grounds so as to help increase their production rate. The founder and owner Lungisa Lutshaba gave birth to this company in 2012.

Since then the company, being a household manufacturing business that it is, has been afforded the opportunity of having three of their products already launched to market, Mineral Mellow flavoured bottled water and Sunpheka cooking oil in small bottles and sachets and also their Tickle care range of facial soaps which they supply to the hospitality industry.

With Lungisa’s focus mainly in the fast moving consumer goods space it comes as no surprised that they have even been exhibited internationally and also have been in business talks with big companies in the east of Africa about possibly shipping their products to some of the store in Kenya. He also wants to introduce flavoured margarine to his product
range.

Annually the BIC finalists are given a chance to exhibit giving small businesses a unique opportunity to showcase their enterprises. This three-day expo provides SMEs, businesses and franchisors with a versatile marketing platform from which to build brand awareness, interact with potential customers and investors as well as to generate media coverage.

Since its launch in 2008, the BIC has given rise to registered black-owned SMEs that have been in operation for a minimum of two years, by giving these enterprises likelihoods to win great prizes that can help them grow and create more job opportunities, thus boosting economic activity in their local communities.


- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE