Since winning R50 000 in prize money last year, Alexander Daniel has not only managed to attract overseas buyers for his rugs and basket-making business, but he has also been able to set up a second shop as well as launch a website.
Daniel’s business The Kraal Gallery won the Social Enterprise award in September last year at the Western Cape Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards held in Cape Town.
The awards, a partnership between the premier’s office and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, are aimed at identifying and supporting local entrepreneurial talent.
Daniel started the Kraal Gallery in 2011, just two years after setting up the Genandendaal Hand Weavers project by recruiting and training unemployed women and youth in Stellenbosch to create hand-woven products.
The project is now run as a full-time business trading as the Kraal Gallery.
“I am forever grateful for the premier’s awards recognition from which we have seen an enormous publicity spin-off,” says Daniel.
“What started off as a community-based skills training workshop that I first thought of five years ago… has developed into a budding business as we successfully developed ways to sell the products we made so as to support the initiative,” he says.
After winning the award demand by local and overseas buyers for Kraal Gallery’s environmentally-friendly, hand-woven rugs grew enormously – propelling the business even further.
In addition to supplying a US-based buyer with 88 hand-woven rugs earlier this year, the Kraal Gallery was also featured in Vogue magazine, further helping to expose the business to a much bigger audience.
“The deals we acquired from both local and US-based clients have enabled me to set up a second similar store at Sir Lowry’s Pass and we have a fully-functional website set up,” says Daniel.
He now employs between 50 to 60 women and youths in both of his shops, a far cry from when he started off with only a few semi-skilled employees in 2009.
This year’s awards will take place on 20 November and will see local businesses honoured for their contribution to creating employment and growing the economy.
Ludwick Marishane of Headboy Industries was named last year’s top overall winner and walked away with the main prize – the opportunity to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Conference.
The conference was held in Moscow in March this year.
The prize was worth over R100 000. The prize money for this year’s awards totals R600 000 and each winner will receive R90 000 to invest in their business.
The deadline for entries closed last month.