Following the launch of a R4-million plant, the usually sleepy Eastern Cape town of Stutterheim will not be the same again.
This, thanks to Ikusasa Green, a small enterprise that opened a cooler-box manufacturing plant in the small town.
The plant, which will initially create more than 20 jobs, with a further 15 jobs to be created within the first two months of operation, was opened by Eastern Cape economic development MEC Mcebisi Jonas in April.
Funding for the plant came from the Eastern Cape economic development department’s local and regional economic fund and from American retail giant Massmart’s supplier development fund.
Speaking at the opening of the plant, Jonas said: “This factory signals the stride to turn the tide of job losses currently being experienced in the country through building an indigenous manufacturing sector.”
Ikusasa Green has already secured a market for its sustainable portable cooler boxes. An initial order of 700 units of different types, valued at over R600 000, has been secured with Makro and Builders Warehouse, which are both owned by Massmart.
Ikusasa director Mkululi Pakade said the deal marked a significant economic landmark for Stutterheim and the surrounding region.
“This enhances the brand profile of this region as Ikusasa will be trading with a company that has a national and international reputation – Massmart. This means our product will be sold all over the world,” said Pakade.
Massmart social development manager Moshisi Lehlongwane said the partnership demonstrated the retail giant’s company’s willingness to do business with small enterprises and to help elevate them from emerging to fully-fledged big operations.
Ikusasa Green began operating in July last year. Explaining how the idea came about, Michael Romer, the managing director, said he had discovered a gap in the outdoor and fishing industries.
“The concept of this type of cooler-box comes from the many fishing trips we have been on to the Transkei coast. I was disappointed with the coolers which do not seal properly resulting in ice not keeping, hinges which break, handles that come off and food getting rotten.
I needed a product that would keep and hold ice for the entire weekend and not just for a day. I needed a product that was robust and that could endure our rugged outdoor living, and that is why we thought of a user-friendly cooler box for outdoor living and for campers on hunting or fishing excursions,” said Romer. He calls the cooler boxes “your ultimate adventure companion”. The new cooler boxes can stand the rough terrain and environment of outdoor living, and as they are made of rope the handles can be easily replaced when damaged.
- Visit www.romercoolerboxes.co.za for more information.