Sipho Mbatha, right, the owner and entrepreneur behind In Coatings, one of the Property Point businesses that are being showcased at the Green Building Convention in Cape Town this week. Seen with Sipho is Bogey Mbatha, centre, and, Linda Mbatha, left.
Property Point, a Growthpoint initiative, is growing green innovation by linking entrepreneurs with South Africa’s green building leaders at the 2015 Green Building Convention in Cape Town this week.
Property Point is an award-winning enterprise development initiative founded by Growthpoint Properties, South Africa’s largest JSE-listed property company, in 2008. So far, almost 100 businesses have participated in Property Point’s two-year programme, enabling them to generate over R451 million in procurement opportunities, with a reported revenue growth of a remarkable 54.5%. It has also been instrumental in creating over 1,141 jobs.
Bringing Growthpoint’s environmental commitment and its passion for enterprise development together for maximum impact, Property Point is sponsoring green small businesses to attend and exhibit at the Green Building Council South Africa’s (GBCSA) annual convention.
“The dramatic growth of green building in this country means the South African property industry is increasingly targeting eco-friendly, resource-efficient development, management and maintenance of buildings. This opens the door for innovative small businesses to gain a foothold on the cutting-edge of the property industry,” says Shawn Theunissen, Head of CSR at Growthpoint Properties and Head of Property Point.
A big driver behind Property Point’s success is that it matches entrepreneurs with procurement opportunities. This is exactly what it wants to achieve at the Green Building Convention.
“We want to bring likeminded corporates and emerging businesses together to further green building leadership and innovation,” says Theunissen. “Property Point SMEs are equipped with the technical skills to compete and deliver effectively, while the procurement departments of property corporates benefit from entrepreneurs that can offer the best practices that match their internal standards, outcomes and deliverables.”
In Coatings, founded by Sipho Mbatha, is one of the Property Point businesses that are being showcased at the convention. It provides custom, eco-friendly wall coating services for exteriors and interiors.
What makes In Coatings special is the excellent durability of its trendy products and applications, with its special proprietary formulas that come from a surprising source.
Mbatha was born in KwaZulu-Natal and grew up between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the home countries of his mother and father, respectively. He qualified as a flexographic printer – printing on flexible materials like foil and plastic – and, has worked for packaging giants like Interpack, Nampak and Plastprent Fh in Iceland.
Determined to improve his prospects, Mbatha enrolled himself in a European Flexographic Technical Association course in Leicester, England, with the dream to work and travel in Europe. While in college, a lecturer told him about a printing opportunity in Iceland. Initially Mbatha didn’t take it seriously, but after completing his course, the idea appealed to his sense of adventure.
When he arrived in Iceland in January, the middle of winter, it was a culture shock for Mbatha. “My hosts did everything to make me feel as comfortable as possible, but they didn’t believe I could cut it, being from sunny South Africa. That made me determined to stay,” says Mbatha. However, it was difficult for him and just as he was losing his resolve and ready to ship out, he met his wife, Bogey, an Icelander who had recently returned from studying and working in the US.
After five years together in Iceland, the Mbatha’s visited South Africa and Bogey fell in love with the country. They moved to South Africa in 2005. Mbatha felt that returning to printing in South Africa would be a backward step for him, and instead pitched an idea to the SA Printing College to introduce a cost-effective training course that could be conducted in-house at printing companies. The idea was a winner, but changes in skills development in South Africa led to the college closing.
Mbatha then started a business doing carpet cleaning and other jobs to keep him going. On joining the Property Point programme in January 2014, he was advised to specialise – do one thing well. His father-in-law ran a family business in Iceland specialising in wall coatings. This is where Mbatha decided to specialise too. With exclusive formulas for the most durable of wall coatings, fit to withstand the harshest conditions, Mbatha tested his product for the local environment and received SABS certification.
Mbatha began manufacturing and applying wall coatings because they are great for the South African climate and represented the best proposition to grow his business successfully. It also offered Mbatha the opportunity to express his creative side. “When I see a building, I know immediately how wall coatings can change and enhance it,” says Mbatha.
In Coatings is based in Gauteng, but operates nationwide. Its coatings are suitable for retail, office, industrial and residential property. Successful projects completed include Pan Africa Shopping Centre, Bearing Man Group, Wadeville, and homes in upmarket residential estates like Serengeti Wildlife and Golf Estate, and Ebotse Country and Golf Estate.
Mbatha says: “In Coatings’ responsibility is to create quality and environmentally friendly products for sustainable property solutions. Our inspiring range of products are supplied and applied in a colour of your choice and are guaranteed against flacking, peeling, spider cracking discolouration and fungal growth”.
“Our value added services include free quotations, paint colour samples, and free advice on correct colour combinations. We can also match any colour – including existing colours and design to meet our client’s requirements.”
He adds: “Coatings are applied using a variety of techniques, including trowel application and spraying using a compressor and hopper gun. Irrespective of the texture, the wall gets a layer of material – 1.2mm to 2.4mm thick. Our finishes range from a Velvetec, which gives a cool velvet effect and ambience; Stonetech that has a natural stone embedded in a backing paste; to Venetian stucco, which is sanded and finished off with a wax polish; and, many more. The options are endlessly stylish”.
“The coatings help to hide minor plaster defects, and due to their elasticity, they are resistant to spider cracking, which results from expansion and contraction. Due to the low maintenance properties of coatings there are fewer disturbances to the environment, making coatings suitable for green building projects.”
Mbatha is excited to attend the Green Building Convention, where he hopes to meet relevant people in the built environment – from property owners and architects to developers, contractors and facilities managers – who will be interested in his product. “We would like to increase linkages with the right people with a view to future collaboration. We also hope to get insight about future trends in the built environment in relation to Green Building.”
Set to graduate from the Property Point programme next year, Mbatha is also confident of the unique value his business can bring to the industry, thanks to the support of Property Point.
“The Property Point programme is valuable because it doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. It tailor makes a strategy for your business. From the advice I have received to various training interventions, Property Point has shaped the future of this business and I now see the light,” says Mbatha. “I’ve benefited from training and information that isn’t otherwise readily available, like understanding compliancy issues. The programme takes a holistic approach to business, it creates an understanding of the value and purpose of business compliance, best practices, environmental and social impacts, rather than just doing things because they are required.”