Thabiso Mncwabe, a 26-year-old Greytown resident who runs a successful small business making toilet tissue, is intensely grateful to his grandmother who raised him. His story is a testament to the powerful creativity that emerges when hard work, initiative and creativity are supported by business skills and mentorship.
Thabiso is actively participating in the Tholoana Enterprise Programme, where he is a star performer. A deep urge to make a better life for himself drives him. Unafraid of long hours and heavy lifting, Thabiso is proud of the hard work and effort that is already bringing significant rewards to his business, Twin Twice Tissues.
Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation who sponsor the programme noted that 50 participants were selected to join the programme from more than 2000 businesses that applied country wide. “Thabiso was an obvious candidate. His company was already a well managed operation, busy with production. His orders exceeded his production capacity and he was trying to keep up with the sales. As it so happens, he was also the only one of nine rural KZN youth entrepreneurs who had actually succeeded in turning a manufacturing opportunity sponsored by the Province, into a thriving business.”
Based in Makhabeleni, Twin Twice operates mostly on a cash basis, with deliveries being paid for upfront. This tight cash flow management, his innovative delivery schemes, and aggressive marketing have enabled him to penetrate the SPAR outlets in his area and surrounding towns, and things continue to improve. Thabiso recently started supplying one of KZN’s five Mega SPARs. If this trial period goes well, he hopes to secure contracts with the other four. He also supplies 20 standard SPARs and 18 Cash&Carry stores, and employs eight permanent staff members with nine casuals. In addition, he supplies B&Bs, local stores, and Wimpy restaurants.
The company grew out of the need for affordable toilet tissue where the provincial government’s sanitation works were rolling out new toilets. Despite limited storage space at his premises and only one machine, the business maintained a steady production flow, selling almost all his stock before even being manufactured. With more space for construction and storage, his business will expand even further.
Thabiso put the necessary control systems in place, engaging enthusiastically with his mentor thus qualifying for grant funding which enabled him to replace his vehicle which had crashed in the mist.
Thabiso continues to develop valuable skills that improve his leadership and grow his business. His potential is being widely recognised. The Umyezane Award for KwaZulu-Natal’s Best Youth Managed Business was a highlight of his career. The prize will help him acquire additional operational space.
Reflecting on the award, he said, “the name ‘Umyezane’ was taken from King Shaka on crowning a warrior who finished the fight, never running away,” said Thabiso, who later had the pleasure of shaking President Ramaphosa’s hand.
Thabiso has taken to mentoring 10 young business owners, sharing his natural flair for entrepreneurship and his recently learned insights. “As a high school student, I walked 25km every day to attend school. My passion now is to inspire other SMMEs to keep trying, no matter how far they have to go to ‘finish the fight’ and to reach their own goals,” he said.
Thabiso’s vibrant energy, dedication to his business, and community involvement show that this youth entrepreneur is on solid ground. Selectors for the Tholoana Programme will be thrilled to find more participants like him, when applications open in October.