IN AN early Christmas present for entrepreneurs at The Hope Factory, their small businesses yesterday received crucial investments such as pots, tools and wheelbarrows.
A highlight of the Hope Factory's Port Elizabeth enterprise and supplier development programme is its two-yearly investment awards where worthy entrepreneurs are presented with items needed to make their businesses a success.
These investments, funded through The Hope Factory's enterprise development fund to which corporate companies contribute, are part of the strategic mentorship provided through the programme.
It was clear yesterday was a proud moment for the entrepreneurs, who received the 19 investments awards – which ranged from practical equipment such as chemicals and a meat processing table to marketing equipment including signage and banners for their small businesses.
Dandy and Asandiswa Bennett were some of the entrepreneurs who had a lot to smile about. They received a cash investment towards buying a chemical mixing machine for their Uitenhage-based business, Dansa Chemicals, which makes household cleaning products.
"We have been travelling to Summerstrand to use a machine there, which has made the business less cost effective. Having a machine at our own premises will make it a lot easier to deliver to our middle-to upper-class individual and bulk clients," Dandy Bennett said.
Bennett's strategic business mentor at The Hope Factory, Darren Ryder, said the chemical mixing machine would help a lot in the Bennett's taking complete ownership of their business.
"Being a mentor is an amazing and rewarding job," Ryder, who is one of 11 full-time business mentors working at The Hope Factory, said.
Other entrepreneurs who received investment awards yesterday included Anele Mlumbi, who received a water tank and raw material for his piggery in Motherwell and Nomvula Nteleza from Lubange Trading Enterprises – a transport business which is also branching out in catering.
Nteleza received catering pots, crockery and a gas stove to help her cater for bigger functions.
"I love cooking traditional foods for weddings, funerals and church functions. My husband, Washington, is now handling the transport business on his own. The name of our company, Lubange, is also our grandson's name and it means 'to make it happen'," Nteleza said.
The Hope Factory senior executive: entrepreneurial development Jackie Gossman said it was hard to decide on which entrepreneurs were the most worthy to receive investment awards since they all put food on the table and directly impacted other people's lives.