A partnership between the Shoprite Group and the Appliance Bank has given a 26-year-old man from the Eastern Cape the opportunity to start his own business.
Nkosinathi Tongo, who moved to Durban “for greener pastures”, joined the programme run by the Appliance Bank in 2019. Tongo, who was homeless at the time, describes joining the programme as the best move of his life.
Today he owns a successful appliance repair store in Durban’s CBD.
“I do not know how to thank Shoprite and the Appliance Bank. Through fixing appliances I have managed to start my own business and have even hired someone to permanently help me around the shop,” said Tongo.
The entrepreneur has made enough money to buy land and build a house in his home town of KwaBhaca.
Tongo said, “Shoprite’s partnership with the Appliance Bank has not only made it possible for me to build myself a home, it has also made it it possible for my older sister to pursue a tertiary education, which seemed impossible before I joined the programme.”
Appliance Bank’s two year training programme is aimed at training unemployed men how to fix broken and faulty appliances donated by retailers such as Shoprite and Checkers. These appliances are then sold to the public.
The men are taught business skills with a strong focus on technical skills, and the programme also provides a safe space for them to heal, learn and grow.
An additional benefit of the programme is that it eliminates waste and promotes sustainability.
Over the past six years, the Appliance Bank has trained more than 300 men with around 100 men having gone on to start their own businesses.
Appliance Bank chief operations officer Tracey Gilmore said: “Our aim is to give dignity to men who have been disenfranchised, as well as create male role models for young children. Many of these men, like Nkosinathi Tongo, have gone on to start their own businesses.”
Shoprite Group CSI manager Lunga Schoeman said: “We have donated items to the value of R3.92 million to the Appliance Bank to date, with more than R61 000 donated in KwaZulu-Natal just in the past couple of weeks.”