Youth Make Business Work through Pandemic

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Young participants in the Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa Bizniz in a Box initiative overcome challenges to grow their businesses

South Africa, 09 September 2021 – Young participants in the Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Bizniz in a Box initiative have not allowed the pandemic to get them down, but have are working hard to create sustainable, growing enterprises contributing to creating jobs and opportunities for their communities.

As South Africa claws its way out of the economic slump, two such operations are amongst those leading the way in demonstrating the grit and determination it takes to overcome adversity amid great uncertainty and youth unemployment

“The Covid-19 crisis was incredibly challenging for us, and we had to work hard to ensure that even after closing for six months last year, we didn’t completely shut down like so many other businesses,” says 35-year-old Kelebogile Boikanyo, who runs a Bizniz in a Box in Kanana Village, Rustenburg. Boikanyo employs one full time employee and runs a convenience store and restaurant. “We are now bouncing back strongly after closing for six months last year, but it is a slow process, and we have to be patient as people slowly venture out more.”

Bizniz in a Box aims to create an ecosystem of viable micro-businesses offering complementary products and services in township communities, using the spaza shop as the anchor. Each business operates out of a custom-designed shipping container provided by CCBSA, covering various core needs of the local community, including business centres (internet cafés), car washes, fast-food shops, or mini bakeries.

Piloted in 2015 in the Free State province, as part of the company’s Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP), the initiative was established to make a meaningful and sustainable impact on youth unemployment through the rollout of a high-impact enterprise development programme that enables young people, particularly women, a chance to create a livelihood for themselves and others.

The programme offers young entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn business skills, particularly those required to grow and run their own small and medium-sized enterprise (SME).

“Before I started in April 2017, I had just come out of a difficult relationship and I had no income,” Boikanyo says. “I was making ends meet by selling cosmetics, but I wasn’t making much.

“When I saw the advert online, I went to the first meetings in our area, and took a leap of faith. I received a call and was selected to go through the entire process, from bootcamp to the incubator process, and I haven’t looked back since,” she says.

The project commences with a recruitment drive at selected townships or villages, where town hall information sessions are held to register interested young entrepreneurs.

This is an important stage where respondents go through a shortlisting process that includes assessments such as analytical and numeracy skills tests.

A complete competency assessment is conducted to ensure successful candidates are able to operate the businesses and ensure their sustainability. The process also serves the purpose of ensuring that applicants understand the rigorous nature of being an entrepreneur.

Shortlisted candidates must be a resident in the community they want to conduct their business in, and they must have some form of entrepreneurial experience. promising candidates are selected to advance to a bootcamp stage where the candidates are trained on critical skills such as preparing business plans, basic financial management skills and marketing surveys. These classroom and practical exercises run concurrently over a period of four weeks with the process of formalising their businesses.

“The skills I’ve learned have really empowered me,” Boikanyo says. “In the future I want to start my own food franchise, which will offer sit down meals, takeaways and catered meals.”

In a shortlisting process, those that proceed to the final phase are allocated to work in the micro-business they prefer. CCBSA and its partners provide the initial stock, and the entrepreneurs are assisted to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements to allow them to run the business in line with regulation.

“I studied business and commerce at school, but after matriculating, the job situation in our area was so bad that I had to survive by running a small street corner market in my township,” says Piet Segopa, who has been running Be Cool Enterprises, a Bizniz in a Box container business in Virginia, Free State, since March 2017. “When the pandemic hit, I just took it as another bump on the road and told myself I have to work hard through it.”

Segopa’s growing venture employs two people full time and one other person part time, generating a strong profit that he expects will allow him to open new locations.

In their first six months of operating, the youth entrepreneurs are monitored on a weekly basis and must use their own initiative to promote their stores within their communities using direct marketing, promotions, and other tools.

At this stage, liability for the inventory and container lies with the entrepreneur, with the support of a business mentor. Once the six months incubation process is complete, the container businesses are handed over to the successful entrepreneurs. An agreement is signed, and they take legal ownership of the container, commencing their repayments to the Small Enterprise Financing Agency (SEFA) from the proceeds of their operations.

“My biggest challenge now is my stock and pricing,” Segopa says. “Because I don’t have my own vehicle yet, I get my stock from different wholesalers, and this leads to inconsistency in pricing. When my competitors drop their prices, I must do the same, which can leave me at a loss when I can’t get affordable stock. I am saving up for a vehicle, which will allow me to pick up stock directly from a single wholesaler and keep my prices under control.

“This will also allow me to open a new site, where I will run a butchery, grocery store, fast food and a business centre where people can do basic services like printing and emailing,” he says. “My brother and I are also starting a livestock operation, and we already have seven cows, which we want to sell to township people, so they don’t have to travel far to purchase animals for ceremonies.”

By the end of August 2021, through Bizniz in a Box, CCBSA and its partners had trained over 749 young women entrepreneurs and helped 375 of them to take their businesses to the next level, creating 185 additional jobs by employing shop assistants. CCBSA aims to develop 200 viable, successful youth & women entrepreneurs by the end of 2021, creating new hope for young people in townships.

END

About CCBSA

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is a proudly South African company which began operating as a legal entity in July 2016, after the merger of six non-alcoholic ready to drink bottling operations. We are level 1 B-BBEE empowered company. We employ over 7000 people at 13 manufacturing facilities across the country. As a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company, our vision is to refresh Africa every day and make our continent a better place for all. We manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola beverages that make life’s everyday moments more enjoyable, while doing business the right way. The result is shared opportunity for our customers, our employees, our communities, and our shareholders. We conduct our business ethically, transparently and conscientiously. We espouse an inclusive business culture to reflect our African identity. We accelerate sustainable, profitable revenue growth across all categories and offer an innovative portfolio of products that respond to customer needs and consumer preferences. Profitability is important, but not at any cost. People matter. Our planet matters. We do business the right way by following our values and partnering for solutions that benefit us all.

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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.