Mega helps to open guesthouse doors

Hloni Thabethe owns Ndalo Lodge with husband, Ephraim Thabethe.

Ephraim Thabethe says it’s thanks to the R970 000 loan he received from the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (Mega) that he was able to open the doors of his guesthouse.

Thabethe is no stranger to the business world, having first started an electrical consulting firm in 2004. He runs Ndalo Lodge in Mpumalanga with his wife Hloni.

“We decided we wanted to start a family business for the kids. We identified a spot in Badplaas and the Ndalo Lodge idea was born,” says Thabethe.

The couple initially used funds from Ephraim’s electrical business and savings as capital for the guesthouse.

However, they ran short of funds and approached Mega for assistance in 2010.

“We thought we would benefit from the World Cup, but we did not start the project solely to benefit from the event. Unfortunately, we ran short of funds before finishing. We then decided to approach Mega for assistance,” says Thabethe.

Through Mega’s assistance they were able to launch the first phase of the development of Ndalo Lodge in June 2010.

This consisted of 18 rooms, a reception and a dining area.

“We were able to then move onto phase two in 2012, which included an additional 16 rooms and three conference rooms,” he says. He insists it would not have been possible to open Ndalo Lodge without the loan from Mega.

The project has since moved onto phase three.

Mega’s business development manager James Manaka has been with Mega for 19 years and says the agency offers business owners two kinds of support – funding and non-financial support.

“We provide business owners with application forms and an adviser then conducts a short interview with the business owner. This is to understand what exactly the business owner is looking for and (to assess) whether their business qualifies for assistance from Mega,” Manaka says.

Business owners interested in applying need to submit a business plan, company registration documents, proof of residence and copies of their IDs.

If the applicant requires machinery for their business, he or she will need to provide a pro forma invoice to confirm the amount required for the machinery.

Once this is completed the business adviser will then conduct a site visit to assess all market-related issues.

A report is then compiled by the adviser and passed onto the relevant regional manager.

For financial assistance recommendations are made to the loans committee where a final decision as to whether or not the loan gets awarded is made.

Non-financial assistance from Mega allows for an adviser to advise the entrepreneur on whether there are any aspects of the business that need to be looked at – for example, training in marketing or compiling of monthly cash sales.

Enquiries can be conducted telephonically. Entrepreneurs are requested to collect the application form from their nearest offices.

Web application forms are currently being restructured.

Ephraim Thabathe, Hloni Thabethe, James Manaka, Ndalo Lodge,

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