Etsweletse Trading Solutions, a non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer currently producing still bottled water, energy drinks and juice, has come a long way since the business started in 2012.
The owner, Thapelo Magwete from Mokopane in Limpopo, started his business selling bottled water and refilling bottles. Today the business has grown and Magwete plans to expand it further.
Magwete approached the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) to help him start the business, after hearing about the agency from a friend. He says Seda continues to help him.
“It is a continuous process. Initially they assisted with drafting a business plan.”
Etsweletse Trading Solutions supplies its products to local businesses, mines, and Further Education and Training colleges.
Magwete has five permanent employees and three temporary employees – all youth from his community.
His advice to young entrepreneurs is to do what they are passionate about.
“Stop the whole cut and paste. Do what you love. Do what you are passionate about. You definitely will get good results,” says Magwete.
Magwete is currently studying for a BCom degree in Financial Risk Management to improve his business skills and expand his knowledge.
“Seda pays a certain portion for the courses I am doing and I pay the rest.”
Magwete continuously looks for ways to improve his business so that it can grow nationally and internationally.
Although running such a business has its own challenges, Magwete takes them in his stride.
“Whatever we see as a challenge, we discuss it and come up with possible solutions.”
Kwena Mokgohloa, a representative of Seda, says the organisation has an important role to play in helping small businesses.
He says since government cannot employ everybody, Seda provides support to people with business ideas.
“We also train them to develop their business skills. If we can support this business continuously it can create another 15 jobs in two to three years. We will continue supporting this project,” Mokgohloa says.