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It’s time to really start promoting small entrepreneurs

I live close to the villages of Pniel, Lanquedoc and Kylemore outside Stellenbosch.  Now that’s not an area where you find a booklet advertising local services — which is what I really needed when I arrived there.  If there was, the small businesses there are probably so small they probably wouldn’t be able to afford the advertising costs.  So, I ended up using services in Paarl and Stellenbosch.

Then, when my bakkie needed new front disk pads and I really didn’t feel like trekking into Stellenbosch, leaving the bakkie while the repairs are done and collecting it later.  So I asked the security company on Boschendal which seems to know the local community if they knew of anybody.

Doeli, mechanic extraordinaire
Doeli, mechanic extraordinaire!

I was given Doeli’s phone number and… wow… was I in for a surprise, a very pleasant surprise!  I called him and he asked if I was at home.  He was there 20 minutes later and 30 minutes later my bakkie had its new disk pads fitted.  And for a lot less than had I had it done in Stellenbosch.

That’s what I call service!

Doeli is a Nissan-trained mechanic and owned two workshops in Cape Town before heading off to the quieter life in Lanquedoc.  So he knows what he’s doing and impressed me in the short time he was here.

The security company know him because he often helps tourists whose cars breaks down while travelling.  He fixes them there and then.  This is the sort of phone number everybody needs to keep in their phone.

And then two things happened.  First, In President Zuma’s State of the Nation address he showed that he — and government — really don’t have a clue on how to drive a growing, inclusive economy.  Read his speech again if you need to; and note the repetitive phrase “We seek to..” instead of “We have plans to…” (which he doesn’t even say once) as in “we seek to open up the economy to new players”.

Government has no plans, and most of local government is much the same.  Workshops and meetings galore but no action.

The second things that happened was when Malcom Johnson, Pniel’s ward councillor, just ignored an undertaking he had given to me and two of his fellow ward councillors.  CapeInfo had offered free directory listings (which we would get sponsored) to deserving small businesses like Doeli’s.  Malcolm had given the undertaking to come up with the list of businesses.  He didn’t and just ignored his undertaking.

With Stellenbosch Municipality showing that it’s an untrustworthy partner, we had to come up with another plan.

Surely, we thought, there must be established businesses who employ smaller businesses, and are eager to see those businesses grow.  If they are prepared to mentor those small businesses, even better.

Boschendal was the first to run with this idea.  Click here to see the first of the small businesses being added.  Solms-Delta will be coming to the party in May with their own list.

If you’re interested in sponsoring one or more small businesses, please click here.

4 thoughts on “It’s time to really start promoting small entrepreneurs”

  1. Thanks for affirming what we have been struggling with endlessly finally from a trustworthy source , yes both the councillor and the tourism officer sees us challenging their #inadequate #misrepresentation of the village and her capable SMME’s as a thread and thus withholding opportunities and valuable information such as these locals are being sidestepped mis or I’ll informed as we not always have access to tourism information for sure we can assist with names of SMME’s in dire need of being showcased on this platform was unaware of your platform until your blog post was shared with me this morning God bless

  2. How can I get in touch with you? I’d like to talk about something we have started. We’re ready to take our idea to the next level.

  3. Its all about having a vision. In a way I feel sorry for mr. Johnson . I knew him from before he became a counselor. He was a nice guy. Now he is just protecting his pay. How absurd is it that the owner of the new petrol station had to fought his way because of maybe 20 people who have no vision. I’m very happy for him, his place looks good.
    This is not only a “Malcolm” problem. This is a community problem. Always looking for something to complain about . I must add that it’s not the whole of the community. I agree that there are lots of opportunities to make our village like Franschhoek and to think 80% of visitors to Franschhoek drives through Pniel. As far as the tea garden is concerned it needs advertising and the museum as well.
    There is no help for entrepreneurs from the municipality that I know of.
    I also want to tell Francois the owner of the new petrol station not to feel targeted. It happens to business owners in the village as well
    I believe that there are a lot of young people in this village whom has great potential and with initiatives like this everybody can benefit. It’s all about vision .
    I hope something good comes out of this.
    Mark Mentoor

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