Areas and Places

Mall of Thembisa assists Kasi CoLAB entrepreneurs with access-to-market

Kasi CoLAB's founding members.
Kasi CoLAB's founding members.

Members of the Township Designers Emporium (TDE), the Kasi CoLAB in the Mall of Thembisa received a much-needed boost in gaining access-to-market during the final quarter of 2020.

The Mall of Thembisa opened in November last year. Developed by rural retail development experts, McCormick Property Development (MPD) and managed by Exemplar REITail, the mall houses the first of its kind TDE which hosts ten local design entrepreneurs for a period of twelve months.

Five of the Kasi CoLAB team were given access to online training resources designed to help them tackle the challenge of access-to-market. While access-to-finance is often regarded as the number one stumbling block for small businesses in South Africa, the reality is that unless entrepreneurs have sufficient access-to-market, they are unlikely to reach any form of sustainability.

In partnership with Swiss investor and entrepreneur York Zucchi and Access to Market consulting firm Decusatio, the Mall of Thembisa ensured the five local designers gained access to a variety of online tools. This included an online training course and the powerful SME Snapshot fintech solution, which provides a dashboard for tracking key finance metrics.

In 2020 Zucchi partnered with Decusatio, a consulting firm established to help entrepreneurs tackle the twin challenges of access-to-finance and access-to-market. They have since been working with a few entrepreneurship initiatives and fintech solution providers to help the sector bounce back after Covid-19 lockdowns negatively impacted the sector.

Historically there has always a been a major focus on access-to-funding for entrepreneurs and not enough focus on finding clients which are your cheapest form of funding,” explains Zucchi, who is rolling out a series of online training initiatives to help entrepreneurs tackle this challenge.

We have a vibrant SME sector in South Africa but very limited real-time data around what sectors are thriving and growing,” says Tyronne Nel, CEO of SME Snapshot, a fintech solution aimed at providing data analytics for the sector. Nel says that this impacts the sector in multiple ways including lending criteria, government policy and where Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives can be focused for maximum return.

By equipping SMEs with things like cloud-based accounting solutions and tools like SME Snapshot, we can make a far more informed decisions around the sector using real-time data,” says Nel   

Entrepreneurs are the future of this country,” says CEO of Exemplar, Jason McCormick. “By equipping them with the right tools and support, they will no doubt thrive and be empowered to contribute to both the economy and the communities in which they operate.”