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IDC funding helps bag manufacturer blaze a new trail

Iqbal Tayob explains the manufacturing process to Mr QhenaBrits Bag Manufacturers CEO Mohamed Iqbal Tayob explains the manufacturing process to IDC Chief Executive Officer Mvuleni Geoffrey Qhena. (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)

In a recent visit to a mid-size manufacturing company based in North West Province, IDC CEO Mvuleni Geoffrey Qhena got first-hand experience of the impact of IDC funding on job creation.

Mr Qhena's visit to Brits Bag Manufacturers, a leading factory in the province, formed part of the second IDC CEO Regional Roadshow, hosted in North West on 11 August 2016.

The IDC opened its first office in the province in 2008, and has since grown its exposure in North West from R1.4-billion to R6.2-billion, in the process creating more than 20 000 direct jobs in mining, agro-processing, metals and tourism.

The IDC's partnerships with commercial banks, business chambers and government departments in the province has been key to enabling the Corporation to stimulate local economic growth and job creation at an increasing rate.

Company started up with R5 000

IDC client and Brits Bag Manufacturers is a family-owned operation which delivers a unique packaging offering in a highly competitive industry.

Brits Bag Manufacturers has created close to 800 jobsBrits Bag Manufacturers has created close to 800 jobs, many of these held by local community members. (Photo by Elias Nkabinde)

Chief Executive Mohamed Iqbal Tayob guided Qhena and his delegation through the factory, explaining how the company, started in the 1970s with an initial investment of R5 000, makes maximal use of polypropylene or plastic-based materials to service the agricultural, poultry and cement industries.

Growing the business had been a challenging journey that required "innovation, resilience and patience," Tayob said.

With over 5 000 listed packing and packaging related products, Brits Bag Manufacturers are market leaders in the manufacturing of woven polypropylene bags, woven polypropylene (PP) vegetable pockets, low and high density polyethylene piping and low density polyethylene (LDPE) fire resistant fencing droppers.

IDC funding enables game-changing investment

When market demand shifted from paper to plastic packaging, the company responded by commissioning a new machine for its 25 000 square metre plant - a crucial step in its growth, made possible by funding from the IDC.

"The IDC's funding has had an immense impact on the business," Tayob said. "The new machine allows the factory to produce 150 000 lock-bottom bags each month for a client in the cement industry.

"More workers have been employed and the factory has created close to 800 jobs, a large portion of which is occupied by locals who reside in the area. This has had the multiplier effect of each worker being able to support four people within their household."

Having covered a large chunk of the agricultural market in South Africa, the company has now expanded into neighbouring Botswana, Angola and Mozambique.

"The factory is currently in the process of sourcing new orders in the fertiliser industry," Tayob said, adding: "It feels good to play a critical role in creating employment opportunities and contributing to the advancing of the economy."

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