There is a “new kid on the block” and the who’s who of umGungundlovu turned out to celebrate the launch of Sasops Furnlab but also to witness the graduation of the 1st cohort from the 2021/2022 furniture incubator programme.
SASOPS (South African School of Practical Skills) – primary business is the Sasopsbiz Foundation, which is a social investment vehicle of Sasopsbiz Pty Ltd founded on the belief of encouraging and supporting the birth and growth of sustainable small businesses as well as assisting in addressing some of the socio economic challenges.
The Foundation focuses on the most vulnerable sectors of the community, from the unemployed youth, women, and the disabled.
Their mission is to create entrepreneurship programmes that educate, inform and inspire and one of their programmes Sasops Furnlab, a furniture incubator based in Thrash Street, Pietermaritzburg and funded by SEDA.
Sasops FurnLab offers existing and start up SMMEs from township and rural areas an opportunity to professionalise and scale up their operations through receiving access to the factory with state of the art equipment, as well as providing access to markets, to funding as well as expertise of training.
The vision of Sasops FurnLab is to be a catalyst for vibrant, dynamic, professional, competitive, and sustainable Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises in KwaZulu-Natal and beyond with a special focus on Wood, Furniture and related consumer products.
The guests included representatives from SEDA, UMEDA (umGungundlovu Economic Development Agency) PG Bison, the Honourable Cllr Maureen Magubane the Mayor of Mpofana and the Honourable, Cllr Mzi Zuma, the Mayor of umGungundlovu as keynote speaker, who said, “this programme dovetails with the districts vision & plans to expand manufacturing and is on the right path in solving the various challenges within the district and breaking down the cycle of poverty”.
The common thread and comments from the various guest speakers all agreed that this programme responds and meets the various challenges within their community, and thank Sasops Furnlab in addressing these needs, from supporting local, job creations, sustainability about the furniture business from administration to marketing skills and introducing young people (especially the women in the programme) to be innovative thinkers and come up with working business solutions.
Pumla Vilakazi, a co-founder and CEO of SASOPSBIZ humbly expressed how her initial vision to address unemployment & job creation has come to fruition beyond her wildest dreams, while Fidzani Nduna, a co-founder and Executive Director, not only endorsed what was said by Vilakazi but emphasised without the assistance of SEDA, PG Bison and UMEDA they wouldn’t be where they are today and offered a vote of thanks to all involved!