Innovative hustlepreneur believes in youth harnessing own passion and skills
Mtsweni manufactures quadricycles
Timothy Mtsweni, an innovative manufacturer from Bethal, in Mpumalanga, is a firm believer in young people harnessing their passion and skills and turning these into business opportunities that will create much-needed jobs.
Today, he manufactures quadricycles after the idea was sparked in him by a school project in 2008.
It was not until eight years later in 2016 that the qualified welder decided to bet on himself and establish his business. Called Success Cravers, the start-up primarily makes quadricycles, hanging chairs and jungle gyms for clients across SA.
“It was an idea that came to me when I was still in high school. We had a project whereby we had to invent something and the love for welding stayed with me forever,” he reminisced.
After completing Grade 12, while working for a smouldering company in Bethal in 2009, he was recruited for a welding apprenticeship programme.
“When I finished my trade test in 2015, I decided to pursue a business venture and stopped looking for a job. That is when I started to make the quadricycles,” he said.
In 2015, Mtsweni purchased his first pipe bender, which he used to build his quadricycle prototype.
“I first had the idea in 2004 but couldn’t do anything about it all these years because I had to find a job and survive,” he said.
Spurred by a desire to succeed but short of funds, in 2017 Mtsweni approached the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for financial assistance. His application was approved and was awarded a R50,000 grant.
“Bethal is a small town and there is not much to do. But with my skill and the idea, I had no option but to pursue my dream. As I was finding my way, I was lucky to find the NYDA through its outreach programmes. I went to their offices, they explained the whole process, I applied and the application was approved,” he said.
The grant proved a catalyst for the entrepreneur, who describes himself as a “hustlepreneur”.
With the funds, he was able to purchase much-needed material – including pedals, steel and chains – in order to expand. Over the years, the innovation received endorsement from various initiatives.
Among these was the Cell C Hangman pitching competition in 2017, at which he was ranked among the top 50 out of 3,000 submissions.
In 2021, he was part of the Sasol Youth in Business six-month training programme.
He has also benefited from the SAB Tholoana Enterprise Programme, an 18-month programme designed to empower entrepreneurs from all business sectors to build successful and sustainable businesses.
Mtsweni’s journey has been peppered by countless obstacles that tested his perseverance.
“It has not been easy at all,” Mtsweni said. “The economy has not been kind to us, especially when Covid-19 came. We had to let go of four [members of] staff,” he said.
Currently, the business has four employees.
With his ability to adapt tested, Mtsweni developed the idea of making jungle gyms and hanging chairs.
The decision to act on the light-bulb moment paid off.
“Currently I have four clients in Cape Town, Durban and Gqebhera. They place orders, pay a 50% deposit, and after that we manufacture the quadricycles and courier them to clients,” he said.
He is upbeat about the trajectory of Success Cravers, saying the ultimate goal is to get the South African Bureau of Standards’ approval and become an established manufacturer. – This article was first published in the GCIS’s Vuk’uzenzele