THE Eskom Development Foundation visited three Port Elizabeth-based small and medium enterprises at the end of March, to see how the businesses have been performing since participating in the 2017 Eskom Business Investment competition (BIC). Ductile Plastics and Extruders, LBN Hygiene Solutions and Lungisupreme Brands SA all featured and were finalists in the competition.Gerald Barth’s Ductile Plastics and Extruders sources raw plastics for extrusion. The business has increased its production output from 30 to 80 tons per month after procuring additional machinery. Ductile Plastics was the first runner-up in the manufacturing sector of the BIC.Lazola Buntu Nxele started his chemical production company, LBN Hygiene Solutions in 2012. The company recently secured funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), bought their own equipment and can now produce 17 600 litres of each product a day.The brainchild of Lungisa Lutshaba, Lungispreme Brands SA is a household food and beverage producer which also has a skincare line, currently producing facial soap. The company is a home-grown manufacturing business, with two products already launched, namely Mineral Mellow flavoured bottled water and Sunpheka cooking oil in small bottles and sachets.The visit to these businesses is part of the Eskom Foundation’s efforts to support small businesses in their quest for growth and job creation. Various prizes, including training and workshops, are awarded to all the finalists of the BIC and Eskom follows up to see the progress of the small businesses.Launched in 2008, the BIC gives an opportunity to registered black-owned SMEs that have been operating for a minimum of two years. They get a chance to win great prizes that can help them grow and create more job opportunities thus boosting economic activity in their local communities.