eThekwini Furniture Cluster unlocks SMME growth, R1,5 million in new sales and 46 new jobs despite challenging economic climate

 

We celebrate the success of the 2020/21 KZN Furniture SMME Incubation Programme and the 46 jobs generated through this programme. The eThekwini Furniture Cluster (EFC) was able to support 8 SMMEs in the 2020 programme. These SMMEs were provided with upgrading and risk mitigation support through various tools, resources, one-on-one interventions, TERS application support and direct market access opportunities with larger retail and institutions generating over R1.5 million in new sales.

Most notably B&M Analysts facilitated the EFC Retail Sector Outlook Webinar over this period. The webinar unpacked the retail furniture sector outlook over the next 12 months with a panel of retailers who shared their perspectives on the direction of the sector and what was required of domestic manufacturers to access market opportunities. This was the catalyst that linked SMME cluster members directly to Mr Price Home, @home and the JD Group.

We are excited to share the top successes generated from the programme:

  • Homewood was introduced to Mr Price Home, where they were able to leverage the opportunities identified in the webinar to collaborate on a sustainably sourced product range that was 100% locally produced and eliminated the risk of global supply chain shortages. The Kotini Range is a range of cottonwood furniture that locates local, alien-invasive trees that are draining South Africa’s precious waterways and using these woods to produce handcrafted, luxury furniture. The EFC facilitated the engagements between Homewood and Mr Price Home. Homewood was awarded a contract with Mr Price Home to produce an initial order of the Kotini Range for 8 Mr Price Homes national stores with the potential to generate further sales in the coming months. This new market opportunity spurred on by the EFC’s initiatives has the potential to increase the firm’s employment by 40 employees should the initial order be successful.
  • Sakhikhono benefitted immensely from the H&S resources provided by the cluster and was able to pivot quickly with the announcement of economic re-opening following Level 5 lockdown. Sakhikhono was approached by Ruwacon (appointed contractor by DUT) and able to support their project due to updated H&S protocols developed with Cluster support, and in July 2020 Sakhikhono was appointed as a 30% local contractor to manufacture and install three kitchens (5 stoves/kitchen, 60 cupboards), and bedrooms with 73BIC, 73 bookshelves, and 73 study shelves for student accommodation at DUT. Six jobs were created through this initiative from July 2020 until March 2021. Sakhikhono has now established a relationship with Ruwacon and looks forward to a sustainable partnership.