Small Business owners in Matatiele work on their Business Plans

Building a ‘Business-in-a-Box’

What makes a new small business bankable? Very little actually. Banks typically don’t bank small business startups because they are so high risk. We know the stats – 94% of small businesses don’t make their third birthday! This is different when it comes to franchise setups – banks know that the franchisor has formulated tried and tested processes, recipes, marketing strategies and due diligence work, that lending to new franchisees is probably a lower risk exercise than most business startups.

The whole premise of Inhlabathi rests on driving economic development in rural contexts by providing market offtake opportunities for SMMEs involved in clearing water-thirsty invasive trees from key water source areas and producing biomass-related products. In order to deliver a reliable and seamless product into the markets created by Inhlabathi, these SMMEs need to set themselves up with staff, training, PPE, FSC compliance processes and harvesting and manufacturing plant. In order to guarantee supply at levels of quality and volume to reassure local and global buyers of our reliability means designing ‘business-in-a’box’ recipes that rural SMMEs can adhere to and comply with. This also makes them infinitely more bankable. For example, our Green Artisan Charcoal ‘business-in-a-box’ kit that is being tested by the brave teams in Matatiele (above), comes with mobile kilns, management apps, PPE, staff training, business owner training, and FSC compliance protocols that de-risks supply chains and small business bank loans and sets up the entire system for success.

Our partnerships with the Avocado VIsion ‘Clear to Grow’ small business Incubator, the FSC and the CMO Group Scheme, various funders still in conversation, and local enabling NGOs like ERS, WWF, LIMA and Conservation South Africa, as well as the Traditional Authorities in the area are all creating the enabling environment for the Business in a Box work to thrive, grow, and create the Economy, Environmental and Social Impact we are excited to drive together.

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