Masisizane Helps to Open Doors for Entrepreneur with Big Dreams
On Friday 8 July, Masisizane and one of its clients in the Eastern Cape, Thabo Sikukula, owner of WP Timber Products in Stutterheim launched the revamped business with great success. The key note speaker at the event was Honorable S Somyo, MEC of Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Almost 300 people gathered to celebrate this event including the 136 valued WP Timbers employees.
In 2015, Sikukula took over WP Timbers, a manufacturer of timber doors and window frames based in Stutterheim. From an operation that supplied only to the Eastern Cape, he expanded it to also serve customers in KwaZulu-Natal and has plans to open another branch in Butterworth soon.
Through sheer hard work and dedication, Thabo Sikukula is today leading a successful business that makes his funders, his employees and his community proud.
Sikukula received funding to the tune of R3.5 million from Old Mutual’s Masisizane Fund and a grant of R1.5 million from the Old Mutual Foundation. As he was still relatively new to the industry, he was supported and guided by Masisizane while he went through training in the production of timber products.
“It’s our policy to offer post-investment support to businesses we offer loans to,” explains Masisizane CEO Simpiwe Somdyala.
“This hands-on mentoring ensures that these businesses do not fail in the first year,” adds Zizipho Nyanga, head of Post Investment Business Support at Masisizane.
According to research, about 50% of all start-up businesses in South Africa fail within 24 months due to the inability and inexperience of their owners. Mentoring and guidance can make all the difference.
“My dream came true because people believed in me and put their trust in me. It’s an exciting journey that we’ve embarked on at WP Timbers, and with the support of our strategic partners – Old Mutual, the Small Enterprise Financial Agency and Eastern Cape Development Corporation – I’m hopeful that the company will continue to positively impact the economy and communities of Stutterheim,” says Sikukula.