True empowerment must be visible and sustainable. The transfer of expertise and knowledge is crucial to make it a success, and last but not the least, all parties must invest in the venture.
Sound like a slogan? Well, not for the well-known businessperson and owner of Wingfield Motors in the Western Cape, John van Niekerk. He did what needs to be done with the establishment of a new company, called Wingfield Empowered, of which he is not the majority shareholder.
“This is an idea my new partner, who is from a previously disadvantaged community, Hyron Salie, and I have been talking about for some time. He was in the building industry, and I met him at a function some years ago. Fast forward to 2021 and the new dealership, Wingfield Empowered in Northgate Paarden Eiland, is up and running with Hyron holding the reins as the Dealer Principal.
“What happened recently in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng finally made me decide to do what we have just done – create a truly empowered business in its totality. We both contributed financially to the establishment of the new company, and he has the majority shareholding of 51% in Wingfield Empowered.
“Not only did he give up his building business, but he put his money where his mouth is - in the new business. All the staff are people of colour, and we trained them in all aspects of the business. I have one of my experienced staff members assisting with the training on a daily basis. The Finance and Insurance Manager (F&I) and I are at the dealership once a week to assist with the transfer of knowledge and skills,” John tells Dealerfloor.
John reckons that within the next year, the dealership will be standing on its own feet, and they are look at replicating the business model with the addition of more dealerships by 2023. “I think it is necessary to have dealerships closer to and in locally, previously disadvantaged communities where this and other types of businesses or services are rare at this stage.”
He says the new dealership is focused on upmarket retail, selling cars for between R200 000 and R2 million. We have about 30 cars worth R7 million in stock. We will look at growth opportunities and see what the future holds,” John says.
“Businesses have to step up the spreading and sharing of knowledge and draw people into meaningful ventures in South-Africa,” concludes John.
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