Shoprite and Appliance Bank training programme gives entrepreneur tools to start his own business
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DURBAN – A partnership between the Shoprite Group and Appliance Bank has given a 26-year-old man from the Eastern Cape the opportunity to start his own business.
Nkosinathi Tongo, who moved to Durban “for greener pastures”, joined the Appliance Bank program in 2019. The then homeless Tongo said joining the program was the best step of his life.
Today he runs a successful equipment repair shop in Durban’s business district.
“I don’t know how to thank Shoprite and the Appliance Bank. By repairing equipment, I managed to start my own business and even hired someone to help me out in the business on a permanent basis, ”said Tongo.
The entrepreneur has made enough money to buy land and build a house in his hometown of KwaBhaca.
Tongo said, “Shoprite’s partnership with Appliance Bank not only allowed me to build a house, but also allowed my older sister to get a tertiary education, which seemed impossible before I joined the program . ”
Appliance Bank’s two-year training program aims to train unemployed men to fix broken and faulty equipment donated by retailers such as Shoprite and Checkers. These devices are then sold to the public.
The men are taught business skills with a strong focus on technical skills, and the program also provides them with a safe space to heal, learn and grow.
An additional benefit of the program is that it eliminates waste and promotes sustainability.
In the past six years, Appliance Bank has trained more than 300 men, around 100 of whom have started their own businesses.
Tracey Gilmore, Chief Operations Officer of Appliance Bank, said, “Our goal is to bring dignity to disenfranchised men and to create male role models for young children. Many of these men, like Nkosinathi Tongo, have started their own businesses. “
Lunga Schoeman, CSI Manager, Shoprite Group, said: “We have donated R3.92 million items to Appliance Bank to date, with over R61,000 donated in KwaZulu-Natal in the past few weeks.”