Progressive Creations app, which is changing the face of retail in the township economy, has been given a shot in the arm by an organisation that partners with the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation. Vutivi News previously wrote about the ground-breaking app, which seeks to change the way retail stores do business by going digital.
It was designed by Free State resident Tumi Letsaba and his three colleagues after they set up Next Curve Creations. Letsaba said that the Black Umbrellas project, which was a development incubation centre, had partnered with Next Curve Creations to open many doors for them.
“We applied through their website, and went through the selection process involving an interview where they want to get to know you and your partners and your business experience and to get an understanding of the business and where it is,” Letsaba said.
“We were very pleased to find out that we were selected to be part of the programme. We are excited that we were selected because the solutions we are looking to solve through our business are real and our business makes sense.” The app is simple to use. It allows township business owners to view sales and stock levels by scanning the barcodes of received goods.
Letsaba, who is the CEO of Next Curve Creations, said that Black Umbrellas had provided many opportunities for SMMEs. “Through their own partnerships with investors and financial institutions, they identify high potential black-owned businesses. They help you get organised so when approach investors you are ready to present yourself in a way that can guarantee investment,” he said.
“We know that running a business is not easy and we have an idea on how to run a business. But to run an organised business is a huge challenge.” Letsaba said the organisation helped set up businesses on the supply and procurement side. It also established networking opportunities and offered business mentorship, which was essential as research has shown that the chances of entrepreneurs surviving in South Africa were minimal.
“We know that for this app to grow and be where we want it to be, it requires resources like money and partnering with government industry players,” he said.
“With the mentorship and partnership with Black Umbrellas, it opens these doors so that we can access investors in terms of funding. It also opens doors with FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industry which we deal in largely.”