Bullish black industrialists

2015-03-29 16:00

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Pascal Damoyi currently makes and sells “beauty-enhancement products” in a small factory in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg. But one day he’s going to be as successful as multinational consumer goods companies Procter & Gamble and Unilever, he declares.

He just needs a little help, which is why he’s in favour of government’s programme to create black industrialists.

As one of the manufacturers invited to attend the black industrialists indaba in Midrand this week, the forty-something-year-old is hopeful about the direction government is taking.

“The indaba was long overdue. Government, in my opinion, is not just talking shop, because they’ve shown clearly defined timelines. They’ve shown commitment.

“I am hopeful this is an event that will usher in greater things for businesspeople like me to get into the mainstream economy,” he says.

For Damoyi, the prospect of being able to do more than he does now – selling products direct from his factory – is very encouraging.

“It’s a really small factory and shop and I run it from one of the shopping complexes in Alex where we manufacture beauty-enhancement products, largely cosmetics,” he explains.

Damoyi has been running the factory for almost three years.

“We do tissue oil, hand and body lotion and skin toners; we’re developing hair care products, such as shampoos and conditioners, and aftershave,” he says.

This is done under the name Yellow and Green Lifestyle and Cosmetics, which Damoyi feels reflects the ecofriendly nature of his products and the “African terrain, which is really where we want to grow”.

“Our role models are companies such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble. That’s how ambitious we are and we are hoping government will help and get us to that level in the mainstream economy,” he notes.

While Damoyi hopes to graduate to a huge factory with the assistance of government, he warned “it is not enough to just build factories; we need to gain market access, which is the most important thing”.

“It’s not just the local retail stream we need access to but also to crack the export market,” he says.

Damoyi has already taken a step in that direction. He was able to get some of his products into Ghana through a recent trade show organised by the department of trade and industry (the dti).

Government’s latest initiative to create black industrialists and transform the economic landscape of South Africa is set to give Damoyi and others like him the big break they so desperately want and need.

And what Damoyi really likes about the programme is that it is an integrated approach to building entrepreneurs using all the legislation at its disposal.

“For example, the programme is going to be used in the context of legislation, such as the supplier development programme that retailers have to adhere to, which will make sure I have access to retail space and legislation, such as the broad-based black economic empowerment codes [of good practice], that provide incentives for supporting local small businesses and ensuring a retailer is able to procure from an emerging supplier.

“It is an integrated approach, whereas in the past it was a loose strategy. This time it’s well thought out and coordinated,” he says.

Pooling money from development finance agencies under the dti is also pleasing to Damoyi.

“That is great, because you won’t have a problem where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. When you have been identified as a potential black industrialist, you will have access to these finance agencies at the same time,” he explains.

Damoyi is applying to the programme and will encourage other manufacturers to do the same.

“I feel like my efforts in building my business are not in vain and that my big picture is understood,” he concludes.

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