Roof Square Tiles is one of eight youth enterprises in the Blouberg Municipal area of Limpopo, that is receiving developmental support through a collaborative youth development programme, initiated by Soutpan Solar Power in 2020.
Previously a physiotherapist, Tlangelani Malatji, is now an entrepreneur and owner of this fledgling manufacturing company, which specialises in manufacturing concrete roof tiles, paving bricks and cement building bricks, in the small Witten Village, Ga-Mareis, Bochum. Malatji was amongst a cohort of entrepreneurs to receive grant funding and business support, which has directly resulted in increased production, product line expansion and local employment.
Malatji took on this venture, after identifying a gap in the local market for roofing tiles and stock bricks. This was a result of the increased demand for building products locally, caused by the growing demand for housing due to the rising population, in Bochum and its surroundings.
“Malatji is a true entrepreneur who chose a new venture over full-time employment,” said Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Specialist for Soutpan Solar Power, who explained that high levels of unemployed youth in the Bochum area, require a formalised approach that includes both immediate and ongoing support, in order to achieve a sustainable difference.
Malatji was amongst the entrepreneurs that pitched their business ideas and was considered for funding from Soutpan Solar Power, in collaboration with Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA), for the roof tile manufacturing machine she required, which she had identified locally. The commencement of the manufacturing of a roof tile product range was identified as a vehicle to get her business to the next level of her entrepreneurship journey.
“Our economic development implementation partner, Afrivillage works to enable strategic decision-makers to reduce social and economic disadvantages. The programme employs an holistic approach to developing local youth businesses, which entails the deployment of funding, business mentorship, building of institutional capacity and possible market access, where necessary. This is in addition to skills training; funding of materials and equipment and compliance and registrations, amongst other support,” added Theka.
This youth development programme is aimed at providing entrepreneurs with business management skills through mentorship at different levels depending on their individual stages of entrepreneurial growth. The programme also assessed and identified critical needs that hinder growth in these businesses.
The company currently employs six people and will increase the number of people employed upon commissioning of the tile manufacturing machine and as production grows.
Soutpan Solar Power and Afrivillage will continue to support this entrepreneur through various interventions on her entrepreneurial journey and mentor her.
“We look forward to being part of the growth of the company, with the aim of ensuring that the company remains sustainable, creates jobs and contributes to the local economy now and in the foreseeable future,” concluded Theka.
Soutpan Solar’s youth skills development programme is being implemented in collaboration with an eco-system of partners, including the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA); Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA); Venetia Mine; Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET); Department of Rural Development, and Capricorn District Municipality.