World Economy

ILO Promoting Entrepreneurship in S. Africa

ILO Promoting Entrepreneurship in S. AfricaILO Promoting Entrepreneurship in S. Africa

An ILO initiative in the South African Free State province encourages young entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas as a way of helping them set up successful businesses.

When Tebang Motaung, a 26 year-old South African, attended a wedding a couple of years ago, he did not know yet that he would become an entrepreneur.

“I was simply taken aback when I saw the guests passing a hand towel along the buffet line. I imagined the many germs and bacteria on people’s hands were being passed along from one guest to the other,” ILO (International Labor Organization) report quoted him as saying.

Motaung started to think about ways to avoid such unhygienic situations. At the time he was a traffic officer, but he wasn’t earning the income he felt would be necessary to start a family.

So he started to think about a product that would serve a large community of users, particularly in environments where good hygiene practices were a challenge. This is when he decided to develop the product, the Tamikk Vadoek Sterilizer.

The product is sprayed directly onto the cloth and effectively kills more than 400 million bacteria found in a typical home. It also kills the bacteria on the hands of towel users, reducing the transmission of germs picked up when handling food.

  Creating Jobs

After setting up the business, he was able to create nine jobs involving the manufacture, packaging and distribution of the sterilizer. But despite the good start of his business, he lacked self-confidence.

“When I first heard about the ILO’s 2013 enterPRIZE Challenge Business Competition, I was still wondering whether my idea to produce the Tamikk Vadoek sterilizer was worth being submitted,” he says.

A few days later he was listening to the radio and heard an interview announcing the competition. He decided to submit his idea for consideration – together with 548 other applicants.

He was surprised when he was told that he was on the shortlist, and even more so when he learnt that he had won the first prize in the start-up category.

  Boost in Business

The prize and technical assistance gave a boost to his business. In 2014, he signed a contract with the Free State Department of Social Development to supply all 4,590 provincial creches registered on its database each week with four bottles of the spray.

Meanwhile, his production has gone from 1,300 bottles produced per year to an impressive 60,000 bottles per month.

He has moved his operations from Bloemfontein to the northern Free State town of Reitz, which is closer to the laboratory that produces the solution and can bottle larger volumes of the product.

This cuts down on transportation costs that would otherwise be passed along to the consumer.

The plan now is to establish a manufacturing and bottling facility in Bloemfontein, expand his business, and concentrate on other new business opportunities.