Two Soweto-based entrepreneurs running start-up businesses have been thrown a lifeline by JSE-listed agency Redefine Properties to develop their informal enterprises to thrive exponentially.
Yamkela Mahlangeni, 32, and Nteseng Manana, 41, are part of 30 individual entrepreneurs from Soweto who have been selected to participate in an SMME life-coaching development programme run by Redefine Properties and implemented by Siwaju Consulting.
Mahlangeni, who is in the shoe manufacturing industry, runs his Ciko Shoes enterprise, which he established last year in Pimville.
Mahlangeni makes shoes with his own hands in a corrugated-iron workshop in the back yard of his parents’ house.
He said his parents inspired him to go into the shoe-making business.
“My parents were working for a footwear manufacturing company a long time ago and they also wanted to start their own shoe manufacturing company. They trained me at first. It all started with my parents,” said Mahlangeni.
The ambitious shoemaker got additional shoe-making skills from an internship he did at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Sebokeng campus, in 2015.
Mahlangeni told Sowetan that he could make 10 pairs of shoes a day and it took him just two hours to make one pair. He supplies his shoes to schools, individuals and people who want to donate them.
“From this programme, you are equipped with tools on how to understand yourself; what you want to achieve, where you want to go; tools needed to run a company; and skills you can apply right away.”
Manana, another beneficiary of the SMME programme, and based in Diepkloof, is in the underwear and fashion retail industry, running her Adorn Underwear business.