Although most of Masicorp’s projects in Masiphumelele are focused on education we do also assist local entrepreneurs. It is estimated that fewer than 30% of the population have regular employment and for many starting their own small business could provide a path out of poverty. For committed entrepreneurs in Masi there is a range of planning and financial advice, and ongoing business mentoring support that can be offered. Perhaps the best place to start is to look at the example of some of the innovative businesses already operating in the community.
Masicorp’s longest business relationship is with Nondyebo Art products who operate out of a converted garage in the owner’s house. Nondyebo sells linen and artwork designed by herself with the help of her family and several women from the community that she employs. There is an extensive gallery of her products available to view on the Masicorp website and with the help of Masicorp’s Jane Philippi, Nondyebo has been able to sell products online in the United States. Of all the help that has been provided by Masicorp perhaps Nondeyebo’s biggest break came when the Duchess of Cornwall visited Masiphumelele in November 2011. After calling in at some of the crèches in the township the Duchess also visited Nondeyebo’s workshop and spent R3000 on gifts for her family back in the UK. It is tempting to think that somewhere in the hallways of Buckingham Palace there are samples of Nondeyebo’s work hanging today.
Business has been so good for Nondeyebo that she has been able to open a stall in the Blue Shed at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. As the most visited tourist destination in South Africa the location offers her unprecedented access to international tourists with the recent Christmas holiday period being one of her busiest ever sales periods. Here is Masicorp’s business advisor, Alan McKelvey, with Nondeyebo’s sister at the Blue Shed earlier this month.