Supporting Free State and Gauteng Youth Entrepreneurs through the Bizniz in a box programme

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Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) in collaboration with the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) will launch an entrepreneurship competition targeted at young people during the month of June. This collaboration comes in the wake of the release of unemployment numbers for the first quarter of 2022. Unemployment is at an all-time high of 34.5% with youth unemployment rate sitting  at 63.9%.

While the country is slowly emerging and recovering from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of employed people across both formal and informal sectors remains around 1.8 million below the level reached before the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020. “This is an untenable situation and as CCBSA, we believe in using our industry leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the country and build a legacy that we can be proud of. Hence our strong emphasis on economic inclusion, particularly of young people through our Bizniz in a Box (BiB) initiative. There is no single entity that can manage this challenge on its own and we are proud to collaborate with the provincial governments to co-create sustainable solutions that will empower young people’, says Velaphi Ratshefola, CCBSA’s Managing Director.

Ratshefola said the decision to partner with the Free State and Gauteng governments since 2016, was a natural progression towards working jointly to alleviate youth unemployment. “Through our collaboration to empower small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs) by setting them up in businesses, we can go further and also provide incubation and support through training and resources to ensure they grow their businesses, to create livelihoods for themselves and other young people. This can change the quality of their lives”, added Ratshefola.

During the tabling of his 2022/2023 Budget Speech, MEC for DESTEA Makalo Mohale said “key challenges facing the Free State economy remains lack of regulations, barriers to entry, ownership patterns, and insufficient access to financial and non-financial support to SMMEs. “DESTEA entered into this partnership with CCBSA because it believes this is a giant step towards youth development, growth, and investment in the province. Previously, the department supported Free State SMMEs financially and non-financially through its different programmes designed to resuscitate and revitalise the provincial economy. The department is committed to continuing its support and partnering with the private sector to support SMMEs for sustainability, job retention and job creation”, said Mohale.

The Bizniz in a Box initiative could not have come at a more opportune time as the Gauteng Provincial Government uses the month of June to put the spotlight on the province’s youth. Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Parks Tau said, “The department is excited about this initiative and encourages young people in Gauteng to take advantage of it and other programmes aimed at youth empowerment offered by the province, such as Tshepo 1 Million”. MEC Tau stressed that this was but one among many programmes that would be rolled-out throughout the Youth Month aimed at connecting young people to opportunities provided by government and the private sector.

In 2021, the initiative supported 118 entrepreneurs across Gauteng and Free State and the plan is to integrate 135 businesses in 2022 in Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality, Dihlabeng, Ngwathe, Setsoto Municipalities, City of Johannesburg, and City of the Ekurhuleni. “With the staggering statistics, we need to be deliberate about listening and responding  to what our communities needs. BiB is by no means a handout but rather, a holistic support that will enable them to build their businesses and moved to the next level or entrepreneurship,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa.

This Youth month, young people with a South African identity document stand a chance to WIN

 CCBSA in partnership with DESTEA and GDED are launching a competition on Lesedi FM where listeners, who meet the above criteria, do a 90-second business elevator pitch live on the Thakgoha Show. The best presentation chosen by the panel stands a chance to win one of ten (10) mobile kitchens valued at R82 000 each. This competition will run from Wednesday, 8 June to Thursday, 30 June 2022 on the show.

To be considered for the Bizniz in a Box programme, candidates must be South African between the ages of 18-35 years and have at least one year of entrepreneurial experience. Ideally, each applicant’s business should address the needs of the local community like convenience stores, fast foods stores, car washes and shisanyamas.

About Business in a Box

Bizniz in a Box is dedicated to creating opportunities for young people and integrating them in the economy. The ultimate aim it to contribute towards revitalising our township economies and supporting the country’s development agenda. It is created to transform aspirant entrepreneurs into fully-fledged business owners who can build businesses, create jobs, and provide a livelihood for themselves and others. For the last six years, CCBSA’s Bizniz in a box has contributed meaningfully to reducing youth unemployment by partnering with national and provincial governments, local municipalities and development finance institutions. These partnerships have enabled entrepreneurs to develop businesses, improve their skills, access capital, improve supply chain development and inspire hope. To date, the initiative has trained over 700 entrepreneurs.

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Rakesh Rajbally

Managing Director: South Africa

Rakesh is C-Suite leader with 26 years of experience in General Management, Sales, Marketing, Logistics and Finance within the FMCG space. He currently leads the South African business for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. He has a strong growth mindset and has successfully led CCBSA’s Commercial business unit. He is a sought after thought leader in developing & implementing revenue growth and route to market strategies in both modern and emerging markets. Under his leadership CCBSA recently completed a R6bn/ $400m investment in an Affordability growth strategy. He has also led CCBSA’s strategic and operational Customer management and recently achieved the #1 ranking across FMCG in the Advantage survey for 2 consecutive years.

Rakesh leads the CCBSA executive team that has been instrumental in successfully leading a large organization across major transformation changes including the merger of six entities to form CCBSA, the Sugar Tax introduction, Talent diversity strategy and other major productivity initiatives. He is a trusted partner and builds trust-based relations with business partners, stakeholders, and authorities.

His purpose statement “We have 2 hands, one to help yourself, one to help others” reflects in the many young leaders he has successfully coached and mentored.

Janett Forbes

Commercial Excellence Director

Janett is a seasoned financial, logistics, and commercial executive who joins us from Vector Logistics previously a division of RCL Foods where she held position of Finance Director.

Prior to this, Janett was part of the Coca-Cola family, having occupied various senior roles of Finance Manager, Category Manager, Revenue Growth Manager and Channel Development Manager within ABI in 2002 and 2016.

Janett is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA(SA), has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Rhodes University in Grahamstown and a higher diploma in Accounting from University of Natal in Durban.

Desilan Pillay

Logistics Director

He joined the Coke system as a Unit Manager Designate at ABI Midrand in 2008. Desilan encompasses 20 years of management experience from companies including Afrox (Linde Group), the South African Breweries (ABI soft drinks and SABMiller – now ABInbev), and Unilever.  

He has a wealth of experience and a vast skillset within South Africa and across the African continent – all at executive levels. This includes, but is not limited to, project management, engineering, production (gases), packaging (FMCG), as well as operations management, financial management, sales and distribution, procurement, and planning (demand, supply, and production). Desilan has managed portfolios across end-to-end Supply Chain (Sourcing, Demand, and Supply Planning), Warehouse Management, Production, and Distribution, including Customer Care, After-sales and reverse logistics. He was also accountable for the delivery of service excellence in order fulfilment, cost of goods sold enhancement via strategic sourcing, and the overall cash optimisation (inventory) across the business. His most recent role before re-joining the CCBSA family is as the Chief Operations Officer at Anchor Holdings, one of the largest privately-owned warehousing companies in South Africa.

Desilan is a qualified Mechanical Engineer and has completed a Management Development Programme from UCT. His areas of expertise include building high performance teams and E2E supply chain and commercial acumen.

Desilan has been happily married for the past 16 years and has a 12-year-old daughter and 18-month-old twins – a boy and a girl. In his spare time, he enjoys seeing new sights locally and abroad. He is always planning his next trip to an exciting destination together with his family.

Nozicelo Ngcobo

Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Director

Nozicelo started her corporate career in 1994 when she was recruited by Sasol into their Management Trainee Programme of the top 16 academic graduates in South Africa – class of 1993. In addition to Sasol, Nozicelo has since worked for listed companies such as Telkom SA, South African Breweries (SAB) as well as multi-national organisations such as Philip Morris International (PMI). In 2020, Nozicelo joined Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) as Director for PACS.

Nozicelo has a demonstrable track record in successfully developing and managing corporate affairs and regulatory strategies for complex industries such as alcohol, tobacco and recently the beverages industry. Nozicelo has strong professional networks spanning more than 25 years in both public and private sectors. Her strategic insights, value creation, solutions orientation, strong business/political acumen, solid networks and ability to mobilise teams to successfully execute towards a common vision are just some of the many attributes she brings into any organisation.

Nozicelo is an advocate of human rights, animal rights and has a passion for youth/women empowerment.

Michael John Wilson

Finance Director

Michael started his working career at KPMG as a Manager and Trainee Accountant from 2002 until 2006. After completing his articles, his highest position held at KPMG was Audit Manager and Office Administration Manager. In 2006 to 2009, he worked at BASF South Africa (previously known as Engelhard South Africa), where he was appointed as Site Controller – Mobile Emissions Catalysts Division. He also served as a Team Leader for Finance when the company changed its ERP from JD Edwards to SAP. In 2009, Michael joined Coca-Cola Fortune (CCF) as Finance Manager – Business Support.

In 2015, he was assigned to the CCBA integration team as a Finance work stream member and later that year, Michael was appointed Finance Manager for Marketing, Sales and Distribution. Michael relocated to Windhoek, Namibia in January 2016 as Financial Director for Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia. In October 2017, Michael returned to Port Elizabeth as Group Financial Controller for CCBA, a position he currently holds. He serves on a number of boards and audit committees within the CCBA Group.

In 2000, Michael graduated with a B.Com (Accountancy) Degree from the University of Port Elizabeth and a year later, he completed his B. Com Honours (Accountancy) at the same university. He was admitted as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2005. In 2010, he completed his Executive Development Programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Moses Lubisi

Manufacturing & Technical Director

Moses has over 20 years of extensive experience spanning various industries such as Sugar, Food and Beverages, and Mineral processing, including 15 years within the Coca-Cola system, Moses brings a wealth of knowledge to this role.

His journey within CCBSA has seen him excel in positions ranging from Plant Manager, Regional Manufacturing Manager (Coastal) in CCBSA to Executive Director for Appletiser (Pty) Ltd. Before returning to CCBA within Group Office, Moses served as an Operations Director at Illovo Sugar (Pty) Ltd. His expertise lies in strategy formulation, governance and execution, with a focus on end-to-end value chain orchestration across manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and supply chain management.

Moses has held senior and executive management roles for over six years, overseeing regional and enterprise-level strategies, assets and resource allocation.

Agatha Masemola

Strategy and Performance Director

Agatha joined CCBSA in April 2020 from Absa Corporate and Investment Bank Africa, where she held various roles in the past nine years, including as Managing Principal for Strategy & Business Transformation and Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Corporate Bank. She was a key figure in the build-out and integration of the Corporate Bank across 13 African markets.

Prior to joining Absa, Agatha was a Senior Management Consultant in Strategy and Innovation at Deloitte Consulting, South Africa. At Deloitte, Agatha worked on several executive-sponsored strategy and innovation projects across various sectors, as well as driving new business development. Prior to Deloitte, she worked in Life Sciences R&D for over ten years, both as a full-time researcher with publications in peer reviewed journals, and as a Portfolio Manager & COO for a biotechnology fund management, focusing on investment in early-stage biotech ventures and commercialisation.

Agatha holds a PhD in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Cape Town and has completed post-Doctoral research in South Africa and the USA. She obtained her BSc (Biochemistry and Physiology) and MSc (Biochemistry) from the University of the North. She completed a Management Advancement Programme at Wits Business School to help her transition from laboratory to business.

Agatha loves to travel and enjoys experiencing different cultures and sampling local cuisine.

Hannes Prinsloo

Country Sales Director

Hannes comes with a wealth of experience and strong commercial operations expertise stretching over 30 years within the Bottling system; truly an example of “home grown timber”.

In his most recent role, of General Manager Commercial, he managed the Revenue Growth, Route to Market, Category management, Channel Development and Knowledge and Insights. His previous experiences include that of General Manager Operations, District Manager and National Account Manager.

Among his career achievements, he counts being inducted as a Grand Master in 2021, which is a true testament to his passion for people, strong work ethic, and unwavering commitment to performance. The Masters are seasoned professionals in our core functions (Commercial, Logistics & Manufacturing) who have consistently delivered exceptional results in their 20-plus years of service in the organisation. CCBSA bestows its highest honour these professionals who have shown exemplary commitment, fortitude, passion, loyalty and most importantly, value-adding leadership.

In May 2023, at the annual Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) General Management Meeting (GMM) Awards, he was honoured to receive the CEO Award, which honours exceptional leadership that sets a clear example of consistently living our values. In his leisure time, Hannes follows a wide variety of debate platforms and sports.

Mkuseli Dlikilili

Human Resources Director

Prior to Mkuseli’s appointment to CCBSA, Mkuseli was Group Executive: Human Resources at Pioneer Foods, he  worked for leading South African organisations, including Eskom, SAB, Dulux and Portnet.

Mkuseli’s extensive experience in the FMCG environment includes playing a leading role in Pioneer Foods’ successful listing on the JSE and the integration of SA Dried Fruit and Ceres Fruit Juices. Mkuseli is passionate about empowering and developing people to realise their full potential, as well as contributing positively to all the spheres of their lives, and the accentuation of human dignity. He describes himself as an authentic, resilient, reliable, courageous, humble, principled and value-based person, and a committed Human Resources professional.