Case study: an SMME’s schooling in procurement’s importance
“Seven months ago, ‘procurement’ was just a word – now it’s more important to me than ever,” admits Itumeleng Phake – Tumi – the owner of start-up business, the Zenzele Fitness Group, in this month’s SmartProcurement.
Explaining his newfound appreciation for tapping into the right supplier networks and the importance of Zenzele’s positioning in terms of B-BBEE scorecards, he notes that “because of the type of business I’m in, and how it fits into the SA structure, the economy and its regulations, I’ve had to really start understanding – and fully appreciating – what procurement means.”
In early 2014, Tumi encountered social investment and business incubator The Awethu Project, and formed a relationship that would enable him to launch Zenzele.
Working closely with a dedicated full-time Awethu Ventures Manager, Ben Gaston, Tumi supplemented his extensive banking experience with a steep learning curve in the world of start-up operations: a crash course in day-to-day sales, business development and general management.
“It’s exciting being in this new space – figuring out how to partner and position Zenzele in the market place. I know that I have something to offer South Africa and must do everything I can to make it happen,” comments Tumi.
Working with the Awethu Project has helped Tumi to find what he calls his entrepreneurial ‘home’. “I’m surrounded by smart, dynamic and forward-thinking people. It’s my home-from-home.”
And the enthusiasm is mutual. “Tumi’s passion for the wellness industry and dedication to providing best-in-class service and facilities has already paid dividends,” says Gaston. “Through our partners we’ve gotten some huge opportunities to begin operating corporate gyms and we’ve seen great feedback so far from our clients and partners. This momentum, coupled with Tumi’s talent will soon see him becoming an expert service provider in this field.”
Tumi intends to use his partnership with the Awethu Project, which already has almost 30 active ventures across a multitude of sectors, to differentiate himself as a preferred supplier. Zenzele is already pitching for a wellness facility that requires servicing from start to finish.
Awethu is a black and youth-owned business incubator that has quickly established itself as one of the largest incubators on the continent. Supported by the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa), Awethu is currently working with over 25 young and ambitious entrepreneurs, providing them with on-the-job entrepreneurial training and practical mentorship.
Email the Awethu Project on email@example.com.