Helping hand for budding entrepreneurs

PPC technical consultant Rean Henni demonstrates how to make strong bricks.

Cement manufacturing company PPC conducted a first-of-its-kind brick-making workshop in Khayelitsha last Friday.

A total of 25 businesses people attended the workshop which aimed to encourage entrepreneurship among budding business people across the province.

Area manager in charge of local enterprise development, Peter Max, said as a bigger business, they wanted to assist small companies.

Mr Max said some of the business people who attended the workshop had never made a brick before nor were they in the brick-selling business. Some of them, he said, had hardware stores while others erected Vibracrete walls. But the workshop wasn’t only about making bricks.

Mr Max said they also taught the participants how to cut down operational costs and run their businesses more efficiently and donated shipping containers and a brick-making machine.

Through this intervention, he said, they hoped the small business would be able to expand and create employment opportunities.

He said the workshop was done on a quarterly bases and soon they would be doing another workshop. “When I met this guys at first they did not trust us. “We want them to succeed. We first want to understand their businesses and we don’t talk about cement we simply talk about business.

“We therefore assist to how see whether the business is making a profit or not and what else could they do to improve. We want to grow their businesses,” he said.

Thomas Khumalo, who owns Zonke Bonke hardware in Strand, said before he started the business in 2013 he had worked for various companies on short-term contracts. But then he discovered there were no hardware stores in his area, so he decided to open one in a shipping container he brought with his savings.

At first his business did not do well, but he persevered and now employs seven people and has plans to expand his businesses.