June 2021.

The young owner of a Kimberley-based baking enterprise, Silvastar, has big dreams for his business and is confident that with the right support and backing, he’ll be able to achieve what he has set out to do.

This youth-owned company, is one of seven local start-ups that has directly benefited from a high impact Northern Cape Economic Development programme, which aims to provide mentorship, development funding and loans.

Backed by Droogfontein Solar Power’s Enterprise Development Programme, Silvastar, received a new delivery vehicle as well as essential equipment needed to not only sustain this small business but to help realise its ambitious business plan.

“We have installed the new ovens, moulding machinery and even moved into better premises, so we are now ready to expand our business, which includes a broader product offering and wider distribution network that includes guest houses, coffee shops and even the funeral market,” said business owner, Sylvester Serage, who opened the business in 2016, when he realised that the lack of available jobs meant that he had to come up with this own plan.

Together with four other bakers, Serage, currently aims to manufacture 22 000 biscuits a day.  These are sold by the bucket into local informal markets, schools, wholesalers and retailers in Kimberley, Ritchie, Warrenton, Barkley West and Christiana. He plans on expanding to neighbouring provinces and is even happy to dream of exporting out of the country.

‘I always had a passion and interest in business.  My mother was also an entrepreneur, so I was encouraged to start my own business,” concluded Serage.

The Economic Development collaboration programme, which supports youth-owned enterprises in the Northern Cape, identified the gap in start-ups being able to become sustainable businesses that can thrive, expand and employ more staff.  Furthermore, with the right plans and support, these SMME’s will help to drive local economic development that is more robust. In addition to Droogfontein Solar Power, the programme partnerships include the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), and National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

Each of the participating partners play a key role in this journey, from providing SMME funding in the induction phase, to mentorship, development funding, loans and finally equity share.