Informal traders and small businesses will soon be able to ply their trade in the Seshego Plaza in Polokwane. The plaza’s management has decided to rent space to these businesses as part of a social investment initiative, which seeks to include informal traders and small business in the success of the plaza. They will be provided with 24 shipping containers at a cost of R500 per month.
The plaza will make containers available on a first-come-first-serve basis, and although a launch date has not been set yet, the management team says the community is excited. Leasing broker Michael Shirnig from Alchemy Advisors, which manages the plaza, said the containers were a small affordable space from where a small business could start up, refine its concept and test the market. “You have a lot of people coming to the (plaza), and this presents itself as an opportunity for a small business to be able to serve customers without breaking their businesses with high rental prices,” he said.
“The structure is simple and safe, and the business owner can lock up and leave their stock overnight without the worry that it will be stolen.” Shirnig said the plaza was mainly targeting “survivalist enterprises” which were too small to rent a big place. “These container shops are for someone who, for example, wants to move from selling atchaar at their house to being able to have an atchaar shop without killing themselves with rent,” he said.
“The setup hassle is very low, and there is security at the plaza to ensure the safety of the business owner’s goods. We’re giving these survivalist businesses a clean space to trade and to keep their families going.” Shirnig told Vutivi News that informal traders struggled daily with their businesses and that was a reason this project was important. “This is a thank you to the community (and) to invite them to come and share in the plaza’s success and energy,” he said. “There are around 30 shops at the plaza, and by working together, the small guys can feed off of the big guys by taking advantage of the foot traffic commuting from the more larger shops.”
There is already a waiting list and the containers have been delivered to the plaza. “We’re hoping that this could give the businesses a chance to scale and hopefully expand to being able to rent a bigger space within the plaza as their business grows,” he said. Small businesses that want to secure a space can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.