JOHANNESBURG - Young Johannesburg entrepreneur Tsholo Mokobe is all about transformation of the crucial mining and agriculture sectors which contribute substantially to the country’s economy.
Mokobe, 32, is founder and managing director of Atone Works, a media company that conceptualises exhibitions, offers PR, print and production solutions to sectors including education, legal, construction, agriculture and mining.
The company also offers outdoor media solutions, such as wall murals in South Africa’s biggest townships of East London’s Mdantsane, Durban’s uMlazi, and Cape Town’s Khayelitsha and Gugulethu.
Mokobe, who has been running the company for the past five years, says he chose to specifically focus on these sectors because of their contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) and the lack of black presence in them.
”Look at agriculture and mining, they are cornerstone sectors but we don’t have any participation in them as a people,” he argues.
“We are a media company that disseminates transformation issues to black people. Each year we host 25 000 emerging and commercial black farmers in East London and expose them to the markets. We also encourage them to participate in agro-processing.”
Mokobe, who was born and grew up at Gugulethu in Cape Town, is passionate about township development and motivates young people on business development.
His company has a branch in Cape Town and its clients include, among others, Sanlam, Standard Bank, MTN, Industrial Development Corporation, and the National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation.
Mokobe says in April, he will host a business seminar to talk about the need to intensify efforts in penetrating the private sector to get clients.
He is also concerned about the unemployment crisis in the country, currently at 27.7 percent, saying: “SMMEs have an important role to play in terms of creating much-needed employment in the country.”
The government has often talked about the need to radically transform the economy to benefit the black majority and achieve ambitious targets set out in the National Development Plan, a blueprint to address the country’s socio-economic challenges by 2030.
Mokobe says it was important for young people to get involved in business but they needed to have clear reasons for doing so.
“It’s going to sound clichéd but you need to set reasons upfront why you want to do the business you’re interested in,” he says.
He’s also started The Art of Business Growth, an initiative aimed at empowering emerging entrepreneurs in townships across the country.
- BUSINESS REPORT