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Plumblink helps to develop many emerging plumbers

Plumblink, a leading plumbing merchant, is helping to uplift more than 40 emerging plumbers by equipping them with essential business management skills. Through this initiative, Plumblink is again demonstrating its unwavering commitment to the transformation of the South African plumbing industry.

Plumblink is funding the business development programme which is being facilitated by the Tshwane University of Technology’s (TuT) Centre for Entrepreneurship Development.

Plumblink decided to partner TuT’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development because it has an impressive track record incubating successful black owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). In 2021, alone, the centre incubated more than 550 SMMEs. Notably, about 60 of these SMMEs were conceptualised from scratch with the help of the centre’s team of skilled and experienced business coaches and facilitators. The group of emerging plumbers will also have access to a team of financial, legal and compliance experts. These services will be available to the entrepreneurs even after they have completed their training to help them navigate challenges that they encounter along the way. Moreover, the Centre for Entrepreneurship helps promising participants apply for business financing from institutions, such as the Small Enterprise Finance Agency. Notably, one of the centre’s entrepreneurs recently secured significant seed finance from the SEFA. This was based on the strength of the SMME’s business plan which the centre helped to develop. TuT’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development also facilitates access to markets through its various marketing platforms. For example, the group of plumbers will also be introduced to enterprising owners of building contracting companies who are participating in one of the centre’s business incubation programmes.

At the launch of the partnership, Dr. Patrick Ebewo, Director of TuT’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, thanked Plumblink for helping the centre extend its reach to also include emerging plumbers who needed help growing their businesses.

“These entrepreneurs are not just great plumbers. Like the many other talented and passionate men and women in business who have participated in our programmes, they are also potential ‘change-makers’. This is considering the larger positive impact that their skills and experience will have on the communities that they serve after they have completed our programme,” Dr Ebewo said.

Luvuyo Mgidlana, Plumblink’s Operational and Commercial Director, said it was an honour for Plumblink to partner with the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development to help nurture and support emerging plumbers. 

“As the largest merchant of plumbing products, we always strive to give back to the plumbing industry and communities that have played a key role in our success and rapid growth over the years. However, it is in everyone’s best interest to have a flourishing and inclusive plumbing industry. This is considering the important role that the profession fulfils by facilitating access to reliable and safe drinking water and sanitation services. As these businesses grow, they will also create more employment, as well as training and skills development opportunities, especially for young unemployed South Africans,” Mgidlana said.

He added that Plumblink continues to expand its already-vast footprint in the country to improve access to quality plumbing products. Notably, a significant focus for the company includes those areas that were previously underserviced by merchants. In 2021, alone, Plumblink opened 16 additional stores throughout the country. By the end of this year, nine more Plumblink retail outlets will also offer plumbers exactly what they need to always provide a quality service to their customers.

Entrepreneurs who displayed immense potential were selected to participate in the programme. Some have been in business for many years and joined the programme to hone their business skills so that they can expand into new markets. There are also many owners of building contracting companies in the group who want to diversify their offering to complement the other building trades that they offer. Many young businesspeople are also participating in the programme because they need advice on how to grow and develop a sustainable business.

Notably, many of the SMMEs are owned by women who are determined to succeed and make their mark in the plumbing industry.

FI Consulting, Plumblink’s broad-based back economic empowerment advisor, is overseeing the programme. Nontokozo Nene, Chief Executive Officer of FI Consulting, says that Plumblink will continue striving to uplift emerging plumbers and the communities that they serve.

“Projects such as these have a large positive socio-economic impact that transcends merely helping smaller players and new entrants to the industry grow and develop sustainable businesses. Previously disadvantaged areas are notoriously underserviced by the formal industry, despite their water and sanitation needs. These can only be met by robust plumbing companies that are able to deliver excellent workmanship and that have access to a convenient supply of quality plumbing products. Plumblink is responding to this demand, setting an example that could be emulated by other industry participants,” Nene concludes.

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