“We need more of these throughout the nation.”
As a young entrepreneur relatively new to the world of business, Nthato Nhlapo knows that she has much to learn. Within the corporate arena, she is still finding her feet.
But after spending a day with Barloworld at its recent supplier workshop in Durban, Nhlapo says that she now feels much more confident about the journey ahead of her.
“As a black woman, I believe that I’ve been really empowered by this workshop and by the executives that shared their time with us today” she enthuses. “I’m really excited about building business relationships with them in future.”
And as Marketing Director for ProBrand Africa, part of her job will be to ensure the health of those relationships. A subsidiary of ProBrand Solutions, her company specialises in corporate branding and merchandising.
Nhlapo says she was heartened by the clear commitment shown by Barloworld towards promoting and empowering small businesses.
“Barloworld really and genuinely cares about transformation – beyond simply wanting to comply with the new legislation” she muses. “They actually care about developing people – and about making businesses more sustainable for the future.
“I was really impressed by the magnitude of this initiative.”
ProBrand Africa was formed in 2015, a black-empowered entity in which Nhlapo holds an ownership stake. However, in spite of the new legislation which encourages such initiatives, she shuns any notions of casual entitlement towards her newfound opportunity.
Instead, she is highly pragmatic –and appreciative- of her role.
“My colleagues at ProBrand Solutions understand the value of incorporating black partnership into their operations” she says. “I intend to realize and bring that value into the marketplace.”
She does have one concern about Barloworld’s supplier development initiatives – that they haven’t yet reached townships.
“These types of initiatives are what we need to build entrepreneurship throughout the nation Nhlapo insists.
“As a woman from Soweto, I’d like to see these workshops held in the townships.”