Partnership rears hope

2015-10-29 06:00
 The Barns Chris Vermuelen and Sassco’ chairman Bongani Vaskele sign the partnership agreement between the two organisations as other Sacco members watch on.  PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

The Barns Chris Vermuelen and Sassco’ chairman Bongani Vaskele sign the partnership agreement between the two organisations as other Sacco members watch on. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Imagine using a cellphone application to check whether your nearest spaza shop has your favourite grocery items.

Innovations like these could soon be part of our daily lives following a partnership between the South African Spaza Shops Co-operative (Sassco) and the Barn in Khayelitsha.

The Barn is a business incubator whose main objectives are the development of enterprises in the area and their integration into the digital sphere.

Sassco is comprised of more than 300 spaza shop owners from Khayelitsha and are looking to expanding into various other neighbourhoods.

According to Sassco chairman, Bongani Vakele, the partnership with the Barn has been in the works since the beginning of the year.

“As part of this agreement, our members will be trained in business management and operations, to be able to run their businesses professionally.

This relationship, we hope, will help in providing solutions for some of the problems faced by small business owners,”said Vakele.

He added that Sassco was formed to create opportunities for sustainable economic development in Khayelitsha and other areas through the formation of strategic partnerships.

“Since the Barn is also about the economic and social development in the area, it was agreed that it would be mutually beneficial if the two parties teamed to work on various projects,”he said.

Vakele said that they had just fewer than 400 members but the number was ever increasing.

“We are aiming to have 4000 members within the local townships and we are confident as more people are joining the co-operative,” said Vakala.

He noted that informal businesses had a huge buying power and that they should used this to benefit their businesses.

Chris Vermeulen, enterprise development programme lead at the Barn, agreed with Vakele on the mutual benefit of the relationship between the two organisations.

“As you may remember we have just started operation in Khayelitsha this year and this is our first partnership with an organisation based in the area.

We have already hit the ground running regarding training the spaza owners.

It will all start this weekend with a workshop to be held here at the Lookout Hill,” said Vermeulen.

Vermuelen said that one of their main objectives was to integrate into the digital space so that they can conveniently and successfully run their businesses.

“Everything is being didtalised these days and if your business is struggling to adopt, it will be hard to do a catch up, as others are integrating.

It also important as the technology often comes with solutions to business and we are hoping to have that sort of impact on their business,” said Vermuelen.

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