Kasi Business | Caring for the environment while coining it

Entrepreneurs Siyabonga Tshabalala, right, and Nomuntu Ndlhovu own a company together.
Entrepreneurs Siyabonga Tshabalala, right, and Nomuntu Ndlhovu own a company together.

Young entrepreneurs Siyabonga Tshabalala and Nomuntu Ndlhovu have made it their business, literally, to tackle the scourge of waste and litter using their company Siyabuddy Recycling and Waste Management as the vehicle.

The company was founded by Tshabalala in 2012. He spent the first three years getting compliance documents such as environmental licences together.

Tshabalala was joined by his business partner Ndlhovu in 2016 and together they developed a business plan that got them funding from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Born and bred in the village of Steenbok in Mpumalanga, the business partners, both 27, quit their corporate jobs, with Tshabalala resigning in 2015 and Ndlhovu the following year to become co-directors of the waste management business.

"We met through our parents as children. Our fathers are friends and have known each other since childhood," explains Ndlhovu.

"My business partner was working at a hazardous recycling company called Reclite and I was working at Africa International Advisors, a management consulting company. Both are based in Joburg."

Ndlhovu says Siyabuddy currently operates in Nkomazi Municipality, in Mpumalanga and services the entire municipality in terms of collecting recyclables.

But it has not been all smooth sailing for the duo, the business has had its fair share of challenges.

"Like any other business, managing cash flow and a lack of sufficient resources to meet demand are big problems for the company," she says.

"However the IDC has agreed to fund the purchase of trucks and has provided a mentor to assist us in growing the business."

Ndlhovu says they received a loan of R4.6m and have developed a worker's trust together with IDC for the benefit of the workers so that as the company grows, so do the lives of the employees. The workers trust bought shares of 25% in Siyabuddy with assistance of R4.1m from IDC as a grant.

"The R4.6m loan was used to purchase a truck with a crane, two baling machines, a forklift, three scales, two bottle crushers and a plastic crusher.

"The grant to the worker's trust will purchase three trucks. The trucks will be rented by Siyabuddy from the worker's trust to ensure that money comes in and changes the lives of the employees from start of the business."

Siyabuddy has today created 18 direct jobs and 541 indirect jobs in the Nkomazi Local Municipality community.

The co-directors are serious about empowering themselves through education. They are enrolled in different programmes to assist the growth of the business.

Tshabalala is currently completing the small business programme, called the JP Morgan Small Business Boost, provided by Gibs at university of Pretoria and Ndlhovu has enrolled in the SAB Foundation's Thoalana Programme.

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