Expanding their contribution to the Nelson Mandela Bay economy beyond the business of building cars, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has committed a decade to empowering entrepreneurs in the metro.
VWSA partnered with the South African business incubator Raizcorp in April 2011, to establish the Volkswagen Business Support Centre in Kariega. The Centre was built with the purpose of guiding local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses into enterprises that make a meaningful contribution to the greater economy.
Since the Centre opened, it has offered assistance to 100 entrepreneurs by the end of 2020 and enabled them to generate a total turnover of about R516 million for the economy in the Eastern Cape. The average increase in turnover for an entrepreneur being mentored at the centre is around 75%.
More importantly, these entrepreneurs have been able to create much-needed job opportunities in a province struggling with high unemployment figures. By helping the entrepreneurs to build profitable, sustainable businesses, the Volkswagen Business Support Centre has played a role in creating 578 new jobs. In total, these businesses employ 1 389 staff members, with a wider impact on the lives of 4 445 people in the metro.
One of the Centre’s success stories is Mosa Dikobo, owner of Citrus Green Solutions. Dikobo joined the Business Support Centre’s programme in December 2016 and has since seen his business grow to new heights. Starting from a Kariega-based cleaning company employing two people, Citrus Green Solutions now has six branches across South Africa, employing a total of 200 people.
“I am grateful to Raizcorp and the Volkswagen Business Support Centre who still keep in touch with me, even though I’ve graduated from the programme,” said Dikobo. “VWSA played an invaluable role in the training we received. I honestly believe if I hadn’t been part of the programme, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
To continue building on this success, VWSA renewed its partnership with Raizcorp at the end of 2020, for another three years. The Centre is currently assisting 16 business owners in their incubator programme.
“This partnership has proven its value time and time again, through the impact the Business Support Centre has had in the community,” said Nonkqubela Maliza, Director for Corporate and Government Affairs at VWSA. “Enterprise development is one of our key priorities at the Volkswagen Community Trust - with the aim of not only advising entrepreneurs, but equipping them with the tools to become economic role-players and job creators in their own right.”