Ricochet News

12 hopefuls from Joburg, PE, Durban and Cape Town make the cut in Threads programme

Jan 16, 2018
12 hopefuls from Joburg, PE, Durban and Cape Town make the cut in Threads programme

Standard Bank's latest fashion SME accelerator, Threads, has entered its second stage, with 12 fashion-industry entrepreneurs – three each from Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime 12-week programme designed to turn their fashion brands into fashion businesses.

"At boot camps held throughout SA in October, the 12 tested their skills against a number of other fashion designers. All vying for one of 12 spaces on the Threads programme, participants had to have confirmed creative accolades and prove their business acumen through a series of activities," the bank said.

Found to be this year’s best, the chosen candidates also had to have established fashion brands:

  • Tshepo Mohlala of Tshepo The Jean Maker, Johannesburg;
  • Tshego Manche of La Manche Clothing, Johannesburg;
  • Junior Mmotla of Mamagasehome, Johannesburg;
  • Anthony Smith of 2BOP, Cape Town;
  • Madja Robin of Chimpel, Cape Town;
  • Thabo Makhetha of Thabo Maketha, Cape Town;
  • Yameka Lize of Refined Revolt, Port Elizabeth;
  • Asanda Mali of Mal’stones by Asanda Mali, Port Elizabeth;
  • Evan Zemba of WIC Designs, Port Elizabeth;
  • Lyndall Moodley of Hannah Grace Maternity, Durban;
  • Jacqueline Munsami of JSE Couture, Durban; and
  • Sabiha Badsha of Haya Collective, Durban.

The Threads accelerator was established as a response to a continent-wide problem, one that is especially prevalent is South Africa. The global fashion industry is worth USD3 trillion, but Africa’s efforts account for just 1% of that, even including the manufacturing and textile industry.

"We know that Africa doesn’t lack creativity, talent and access to resources; the main stumbling block is the inability of entrepreneurs to turn their brands into viable businesses that create jobs and profits, and, so, make a positive impact on the economy," Standard Bank.

"Small- and medium-sized businesses need to become the engine room of jobs and growth in the coming years, but poor planning is a major reason why as many as 70% of SMEs fail in South Africa – half of them within the first five years. Thus, skills training is inseparable from entrepreneurship: changes in- and outside a business will require sound strategies to meet the challenges involved, such as securing supplies, leveraging existing cross-border trade agreements and gaining access to markets.

"The Threads accelerator can teach entrepreneurs all of this."

It said that to ensure a solid academic foundation, Threads partnered with E4Impact, an initiative of Italy’s Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore that fosters sustainable development through impact entrepreneurship.

"Each week of the accelerator tackles a specific area of business with some of South Africa’s top minds as custodians.

"Modules cover finance and business plans, manufacturing, eCommerce, marketing, selling methods and more."

At the end of the 12 weeks, in March 2018, a programme winner will be selected by a panel of industry-experienced judges. Receiving a package that includes a trade trip to Europe to meet top retailors and buyers, a sponsored Mercedes Benz for one year and an SME banking starter pack from Standard Bank, the winner’s fashion business is sure to be boosted to greater heights.

“Congratulations are in order for our candidates,” says Tinyiko Mageza, Head: Retail and Business Banking Marketing at Standard Bank.

“They got this far on their own steam – selected as some of the most talented and determined designers in the country – and we at Standard Bank are excited to see how much further they can take their businesses with dedicated support and skills development.”