Collaboration boosts growth for black-owned businesses

by | Aug 24, 2021 | Article, News

The South African Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU) took the first step in securing a sustainable future for black-owned enterprises.

The signing of a lease agreement with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) secures space in the Nietvoorbij Cellar Complex for the development of a first-of-its-kind brand home for black-owned enterprises.

“It is important to explore opportunities for small and medium businesses using the existing assets and infrastructure of Public Entities (and other government institutions). The agreement is a prime example of what can be accomplish by thinking ‘out-of-the-box’ and a partnership between the wine industry and the ARC shows what can be done,” says Joyene Isaacs, chairperson of the ARC Council.     

“The upgrade of the Nietvoorbij Cellar Complex presented a valuable opportunity for SAWITU and the ARC to work together to help in the effective and accelerated transformation of the wine industry through training, research, and capacity development.  We are indeed very excited to embark on this historic journey, share knowledge and learn from one another – both to enable growth within the wine industry and to benefit the broader South African society.”

“These types of initiatives will drive transformation, enterprise development and skills development targets in the wine industry,” says Tshililo Ramabulana, chairperson of SAWITU.

The Wine tasting and Cellar Complex was recently refurbished and transformed into a modern, multi-functional facility which echoes SAWITU’s vision for the brand home.  Although housed on the same premises, the brand home will have a unique ethos and culture that resonate with the entrepreneurs who will be utilising this facility. 

“The majority of black-owned wine brands and entrepreneurs don’t have a place to call their own and that resembles their identity. By collaborating with the ARC, SAWITU is creating that space for them”, says Wendy Petersen, SAWITU’s operations manager. 

Where two worlds meet

“What attracted us most about the venue, is its location”, says Wendy. Stellenbosch is a popular tourist town and well known for its established wine route and history.  This gives our emerging wine brands and entrepreneurs a greater business advantage, anchors them in an agri-tourism environment and making them part of the South African wine industry history.   

The historic building in which the new brand home will be located is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and overlooks the local community and nearby township, displaying two worlds so different, yet co-existing in the same space. 

Laying the foundation

“We believe that the success of this initiative is built on a firm foundation”, says Wendy.  “It was also very important that we manage the expectations of the entrepreneurs and that we all understand the targets and deliverables”. 

SAWITU spent the last two years sourcing the most suitable suppliers and service providers and finalised agreements with them.  The organisation took time to clarify roles and responsibilities of all the role players, determined performance indicators and measurable targets and assessed the entrepreneurs who will be benefitting from the initial phase of this business model.   

Wendy concludes “There is still a lot of work to be done before the brands can move in and start trading, but we are excited to have come this far and look forward to launching the next phase of development.” This initiative is a key strategic game changer towards empowerment of the black owned brands in the wine industry.

Visit our website for more information about SAWITU and follow us on Facebook (@WITURSA), Twitter (@witu_sa) or LinkedIn (SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit).

Photo caption:  The building at the ARC Nietvoorbij campus that will be the new home for black-owned enterprises.

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