By: Tebogo Mokwena
Entrepreneur Tumi Letsaba will use his influence in the Motsepe Group to empower businesses located in his hometown of Frankfort in the Free State. This follows Letsaba being appointed as the Motsepe Group’s first entrepreneur in residence. Letsaba said that he would also use his appointment to ensure that the importance of township economies was highlighted. Letsaba, who is the founder and CEO of Next Curve Creations, told Vutivi News that his appointment meant that the group would use its resources to invest in his business and its app, Stocke.
It will also give Next Curve Creations, which connects businesses and customers, the opportunity to use the group’s resources to upscale the business. Letsaba believes that by upscaling his business, the businesses which use his platform will by extension also grow. An entrepreneur in residence is defined as an entrepreneur that is appointed on a short-term basis by venture capital firms. They usually lead a small business with high-growth potential and provide a company with their expertise, while the company provides them with capital for current and future entrepreneurial endeavours.
Letsaba said that he approached the group three years ago to pitch his idea. He recalled that he received neither a yes nor a no, and took that as a sign to carry on by himself. However, he regularly sent the group the company’s milestones for three years, and in February they got back to him. “They said that our traction and growth are excellent, and they have decided to appoint me as the EIR,” he said. “For me, this is a huge validation of our business’s efforts.”
Letsaba said that he would use this opportunity to empower township retailers to connect with manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods. “The goal is to be able to lower the cost of doing business, and as cost becomes low it means more money for businesses in the township, which means that these businesses will be empowered to absorb the unemployed,” he said. “For us, it means that we now have a strong business partner with a strong reputation that is taking us seriously because what we are saying is that township-based businesses need to be taken seriously.”
They were also embarking on a project that would see township businesses in Frankfort and nationally have access to affordable agriculture products. Letsaba told Vutivi News that they had entered into agreements with farmers and landowners in Frankfort, and there was now a 137-hectare piece of land being used for this endeavour. He said that farming had already begun, and the gains were expected to improve food security in townships.