A 28-year old PhD student and SMME owner has opened a new chemical manufacturing plant in Pietermaritzburg after struggling to get her small business off the ground over the past few years.
Nomandla Ngcoya opened her plant, which will employ at least ten people to manufacture detergents and cosmetics, at the weekend.
Ngcoya opened her small business, D Chem Group, in 2016 with just R1200.
“I started making dish washing liquid, and all I could afford was a 25 litre of dishwashing liquid. I bought packaging and I got a graphic designer to design stickers for me. It took me eight months to sell that 25l and that was very discouraging. One thing I love about myself is I don’t give up easily,” Ngcoya said.
Ngcoya said many customers purchased her product on credit which led to her business crashing when she lost R13 000. However, she said the Durban Chemical Cluster stepped in and provided her with a R6000 grant that helped her to build the business up again.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Ravi Pillay, speaking at the opening of the factory said the government was focusing on economic recovery and transformation.
“One of the quickest ways to ensure economic growth and transformation is to have thriving SMMEs. To appreciate the growing role that small businesses play in the economy one needs to look at the 2019 Annual Financial Statistics (AFS) survey,” Pillay said.
According to the survey, in 2019 small businesses generated 22%, or R2,3 trillion, of the R10,5 trillion total turnover in the formal business sector. This figure had grown from 16% generated by small businesses in 2013. Meanwhile, the contribution of large business waned over the same period, from 75% in 2013 to 68% in 2019,
“The D Chem group also epitomises that growth. The company employs six workers. We have been informed that with the opening of this manufacturing plant, the number of employees will grow to 10. If you consider how many people each worker supports, you will appreciate the contribution being made by small companies like the D Chem Group,” Pillay said.
“As government we are therefore strengthening our support for SMMEs. Our support comes in various forms and it will ensure that SMMEs are sustainable. It is also meant to ensure that SMMEs are able to navigate the barriers of entry to certain sectors such as chemical manufacturing,” he said.
“As part of this support, we will soon be opening the KwaMashu Shared Production Facility for chemicals and detergents. The facility has been developed to support small enterprises involved in the manufacturing of detergents and cosmetics. The strict regulatory framework coupled with the lack of technical know-how and equipment such as laboratory services makes it hard for small businesses to thrive in the chemical manufacturing industry.
The shared facility aims to address all these by providing training and production support to the small businesses operating in this space,” Pillay said.
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