A black-owned laboratory that provides testing services for clients in the water resources industry increased its analysis output by 100%, thanks to an intervention by the Small Enterprise
Development Agency (Seda).
Seda assisted the laboratory, Mpumamanzi Laboratory Ser-vice, to secure a Technology Transfer Fund incentive for new equipment to increase the laboratory’s daily sample testing capacity and efficiency and to comply with the National Laboratory Association’s annual proficiency performance test.
As a result, the laboratory improved its analysis output from an average of 40 to 80 microbiological samples daily and increased its sample testing capacity to at least 200 per day.
Thusi Motsepe, owner of Mpumamanzi Laboratory Service, says: “Our growth can be linked directly to Seda’s interventions, which improved business quality and efficiency, and impressed our clients. With Seda’s support we will be the first wholly black-owned and managed laboratory, which shows that the African dream is a reality – through persistent and diligent work.”
Seda’s support has also helped the company to: grow from 7 employees in 2010 to 15 at the end of 2012, with the addition mainly of professionals (environmental scientist, chemical engineer, analytical chemist, microbiologist), to achieve a 100% compliance score from the National Laboratory Association for its proficiency performance, to achieve accreditation to secure tenders in the mining and municipal sectors, and to increase its client base. Nonhlanhla Ngomane, another business owner who received assistance from Seda, faced challenges to grow a herb farming business that provides clients with fresh herbs and baby vegetables.
These challenges included access to funding, systems to address production and supply chain-related problems, SABS accreditation to attract clients, equipment to improve efficiency, and mentorship in crop management.Seda incubated the business in the amaSpice production cluster of the Seda-supported Timbali Technology Incubator.
The incubator identified a gap in the market to supply baby vegetables and herbs to Woolworths through Fresh-to-Go (FTG), who was importing herbs from Kenya.