Nicholas Xhonxa, co-owner of the 100 percent black-owned SSA Ads, which started in Gugulethu and now operates from Bothasig, was named the ABSA Top Small Business Owner Student at a ceremony on Friday November 18.
He received the highest mark overall when completing the sponsored nine-month development programme offered by the Small Business Academy (SBA) of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).
Gugulethu’s ATG Ekasi Handbags and Clothing co-owner, Thuleka Duze, received the Distell Award for the Business with the Most Potential, while Magdeleen Scheepers, owner of Mac Hair and Beauty Salon, in Blackheath, took the SBA Mentors Award for the Most Improved Participant.
The ceremony saw small business owners from previously disadvantaged communities receiving certificates for completing the programme, which helps them strengthen their businesses.
Mr Xhonxa said building brands beyond advertising was his company’s motto. His firm offers promotions, brand activation, brand development and the embroidery of clothing.
“Our agency is owned by me and my brother, employs one sales consultant and uses part-time staff to assist at events and with promotions. We started the agency in November 2015 after noticing a gap in the market. Many of the below-the-line marketing and promotional campaigns are run in townships and that’s where we come in handy because we understand cultural dynamics of the townships.”
Mr Xhonxa, who has a B.Com Honours, has been involved in the world of business since 2006.
“We are a fast-growing company and although our major challenges are cash-flow, securing business from large corporate companies and competing within an industry that’s predominantly white-owned agencies, we are more determined than ever to assist our clients to stand out from the masses.”
SSA Ads, he said, hoped to become one of the prominent role players in the advertising and marketing industry within the next two years.
Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener, head of the SBA, said a Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) study had found small businesses were key to economic growth, innovation and job creation, contributing 42 percent to GDP last year compared to 33 percent in 2010. However, not all of them survived their first years, as they were often hamstrung by unacceptable business plans, poor market research and a lack of access to vibrant markets.
“With this in mind, business education is fundamental in sustaining these small business owners and education providers and corporates need to step-up their involvement to share their knowledge and skill set.
“By launching the SBA programme four years ago our aim was to fill the much-needed gap for business education by engaging with small business owners, equipping them not only with knowledge but also exposing them to opportunities to engage with large corporates,” she said.
The SBA’s nine-month development programme teaches business administration, financial management, business plan writing and marketing among other things. Entries are open for the 2017 intake.
Visit www.usb.ac.za/sba/apply/wc or contact Benjamin Matshoba at 021 918 4379.