10 Leap SMEs you should know about

Updated on 26 August 2016

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10 Leap SMEs you should know aboutIt’s safe to say that some of the most exciting startup talent and early-stage businesses lie within the incubator/accelerator ecosystem – think startups local success stories.

To highlight the talent that lies in the country’s hubs, accelerators and incubators SME South Africa will be showcasing some of the best startups that are members of these programmes.

In response to the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy and the updated B-BBEE which require that big businesses support the development of small enterprises and suppliers, a number of organisations have launched to bridge the gap between big corporates and the country’s SMEs in this regard.

Many of these initiatives provide enterprise supplier development (ESD) services by assisting big corporates with their supply-chain management models as well as providing BBBEE advisory services.

There are also an increasing number which are also functioning as accelerators, and are helping in the development of suppliers to become sustainable.

One such initiative is Lean Enterprise Acceleration Programmes (LEAP). The Johannesburg-based accelerator operates nationally and provides business support to SMEs who are part of corporates’ supply chains.


Petra Rees, head of business, Leap.
Their entrepreneurs operate in a wide range of industries, from hospitality to waste management, construction to baking. The below companies are all at least 51% black-owned (Black, in this instance, refers to African, Coloured or Indian).

LEAP programmes are built around the philosophy of capacity building for beneficiary companies where they need support, says Petra Rees, head of business at Leap.

“The successes of our programmes lie in the use of proprietary systems, best practice business-development tools, qualified mentors, business consultants, partners and staff,” she says.

The cornerstone of their programmes is based on their philosophy of providing meaningful and relevant support. “This requires flexibility and adaptability. We are able to manage loans through partner companies,” says Rees.

We take a look at businesses that have been trained and supported by Leap as part of their accelerator and ESD programmes.

1. R&G Logistics Profile
R&G Logistics was established in 2006 and is 100% black female-owned. They provide their clients with complex transport and logistics solutions in SA and the rest of the SADEC region, in what is an often challenging male-dominated industry.

R&G Logistics is SQAS (Safety & Quality Assessment System) approved – an audit system that ensures high quality in the field of logistics.

R&G has accumulated experience in the transportation of small and abnormal cargo, full and part loads, heavy haulage, palletised loads and specialized transport requirements. One of its notable achievements include its talks with a large mining company and its possible integration into their supply chains.

2. SMZee
SMZee is a 100% black-owned property refurbishment and construction company. Its founder, 23-year-old Siphamandla Zwane is the youngest of the beneficiaries of their programmes. SMZEE, through the ESD programme was able to gain clarity on their standing in the construction market, and was able to streamline and optimise its processes. One of its projects includes being part of the team which built the Orange Farm Buyback Centre.

SMZEE was the first beneficiary of the current programme to be integrated into a major client’s supply chain.

3. Cleaning Africa
Cleaning Africa, a cleaning company operating in Gauteng, has one of the largest number of employees on the programme with a team of over 500 employees based around the Gauteng province.

Cleaning Africa was through the LEAP programme able to implement the International Standard for Organizations (ISO) system. This system is an internationally recognised standard for operational efficiency, and is essential especially in the cleaning industry. With this accreditation, Cleaning Africa is able to bid for larger contracts.

4. Buhlebethu Trading
Buhlebethu Trading, which founded in 2008, is an electrical and wood works company based in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. Its services include CCTV installation, electrical fences erection, and supplying office furniture. It is 100% black-owned and has benefited greatly from mentorship services and training workshops related to sales and marketing. Some of the recent wins by Buhlebethu is their electrical work done at a popular community development centre owned by a large mining company in the area.

5. Core Bits
Core Bits is a 100% black owned company founded in 2013. It aims to be leader in the areas of engineering and electronics, supplying of mechanical parts and rock drilling. The company’s biggest milestone is acquiring Eskom as a client and supplying them with mechanical parts required on one of their plants.

Their commitment to high standards ensures that they supply parts that are compliant with the International Standards Organisation (ISO). They supply, among other items, valves, nuts and bolts and steel.

6. Xena Tours
Xena Tours was founded by Alton Michael in 2004. The company is 100% black-owned.

Their current service offerings include: airport shuttle services, door-to-door shuttle services, courier services and Soweto Tours. Xena Tours has grown from strength to strength and now has clients that include a multinational diagnostics company, a multinational automaker and a large insurance company. Xena also partners with industry giants in the courier, travels and car rentals industries.

Xena Tour has branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Founder Michael says: “Xena Tours takes you to those special places that you’ve always wanted to visit. Either way, your driver/guide takes care of everything, so you can relax and make the most of your time in South Africa.”

7. Messenger Boys
Messenger Boys is a 100% black-owned, marketing and communications advisory agency run by Tumaini Leshoai and Phenyo Mosaka. Launched in 2009, the business’ focus has been growing its footprint in the marketplace.

Their clients include BBKSIC – Bakgatla ba Kgafela, Strategic Investment Company, Aluwani Capital Partners, Ubank and Activ8 Branding. Through business coaching and mentorship and audits of their financial systems, Messenger Boys has seen impressive growth.

8. Phola Bakery
Phola Bakery began trading in 2002. It operates mainly in the Phola region, close to Witbank in the Mpumalanga province.

​The bakery supplies breads, rolls, buns and pizzas to local tuck-shops and supermarkets. They also supply local police stations and mines in the region. They have received support from the various mining houses in the region.

9. Twin Corner construction
Twin Corner Construction and Projects 102 was established in 2011. The company is based in Witbank, Mpumalanga. The director of the company, Gregory Xolani Shabangu (26) worked for one of the country’s biggest electricity companies before establishing the company.

Twin Corner Construction and Projects 102 renders the following services: construction, grass cutting and cleaning services, and all types of fencing and supplying engineering products.

10. I View Integrated Systems
The dynamic electronic security systems industry influenced Inban Kistiah to launch I View Integrated Systems in 2005. From humble beginnings, the company are now highly sought after installers of electronic security systems.

I View is based in Durban with branches in various provinces. The company’s clientele includes government and municipality departments and corporates.

One of their notable successes is becoming a strategic supplier to one of the largest automations systems companies in the world.

To get in touch with all the businesses featured, contact LEAP here.

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