Young woman takes business bull by the horns

When it comes to transformation in the automotive industry, Akhona Mosiane, majority shareholder of GardenRouteMan (GRM) Auto, believes she has been given a rare opportunity to make an impact.

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“I am not title-driven, but I know there aren’t many women who can say they own a heavy-truck dealership group,” she says. “I’ve been given an opportunity to be at the forefront of making sure I am not the last. My duty is to make it easier for other women to get into the industry and fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams.”

Akhona (35), is the majority shareholder of GardenRouteMan (GRM) Auto, a dealership group that currently owns three MAN truck dealerships in Gqeberha, East London and George. She and her partners, Maarten Roode and Allen Busse, have spent many years with MAN and in the automotive industry at large.

She was even a dealer principal for the Volkswagen dealership in Soweto, but has been involved with various dealerships for MAN – a brand that forms part of the Volkswagen Group – since 2019.

This is where the B-BBEE Initiatives Trust came into her life. “I tried various avenues without luck, and had heard of the Trust, so I contacted them and explained our situation and business plan. The request put forward to the Trust was at the eleventh hour, but the willingness and absolute professionalism we received still give me goosebumps.

“We stayed in touch, and on 27 February this year they sent me a letter to confirm the funding – one day ahead of our deadline. The Trust understood what the meaning of ‘opportunity’ was and gave us their undivided attention as soon as they were convinced we could build a good business,” she says.

“The B-BBEE Initiatives Trust, having been operational in the sector since 2016, understands the stringent requirements of the sector and the tight timelines,” says Neeraj Kessery, CEO of the B-BBEE Initiatives Trust. “In order to support businesses with their requirements, we have optimised our internal processes to ensure we meet their milestones. The B-BBEE Initiatives Trust is proud to state that several of the companies funded by us are partially, if not fully, women-owned.

GRM Auto marks the Trust’s first downstream investment in the automotive supply chain. So far, GRM Auto has only received assistance through the funding, but Akhona says they are eager to participate in the Trust’s other support programmes for beneficiaries in order to grow the business to its full potential.

“The Eastern Cape is an underrated province, and it would be amazing to grow something bigger. We need to deliver more good stories in the province’s business landscape and create opportunities. My proudest moment was when I opened a dealership in Pinetown and was able to employ 35 people and give them a new sense of purpose. I want us to be able to do that here as well.”

“Transformation is an imperative for VWSA, and supporting businesses such as GRM Auto is a massive step in the right direction,” says Nonkqubela Maliza, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at VWSA.

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  • 23 July 2024