May 2022.

AMOS REED, a Philipstown farmer, is one of a number of Northern Cape entrepreneurs that have received SMME support from De Aar Solar Power.

Reed had been battling both the economic downturn and the protracted drought that threatened his Garlic and Crop farm. With the financial assistance a borehole has been drilled, which is now providing a much needed water source to sustain his crops. Additional funding during the CV-19 pandemic also helped to ensure that Amos could stay on top of his own expenses and can continue to plant even during the lockdown period.

“It is well known that the country’s coronavirus-induced lockdown threatened to leave a permanent mark on fledgling businesses, some of whom were already struggling before the pandemic hit,” explained Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Officer for De Aar Solar Power, who funded this programme as part of its Enterprise Development Programme.

Benefiting entrepreneurs that are part of this programme, are assessed on an individual basis, so that bespoke support is provided for each entrepreneur to ensure the sustainability of their business during the national crisis.

All beneficiaries form part of the De Aar Solar Power enterprise programme, which is aimed at entrepreneurs from the rural towns of Hanover, Britstown, Philipstown and De Aar.

Amos’s business was prioritised as there was no water at the property and he would have missed the planting season. The funds have saved his crops as he would otherwise have lost the opportunity of the planting season.

“The assistance I received from De Aar Solar Power will go a long way as water is a scarce resource, especially here in Philipstown,” added Mr. Amos Reed.

More recently, John Rietels, owner of J & Jo Fast Food, a De Aar based mobile restaurant, also benefitted from funding support as one of five SMME’s to get assistance. This funding has even extended to provide for a mobile solar kit to electrify his kitchen, so that he doesn’t have to rely on gas, which is costly.

“The installation of this PV solar panel unit has provided much needed financial relief as I spent a lot on purchasing expensive gas and as a result could not really make much profit. It is of course also more environmentally friendly and wonderful that a solar farm has funded this green energy solution for my business,” commented John Rietels, owner of J & Jo Fast Food.

In addition to the solar kit, financial support included repairs for the business vehicle and new tyres, as well as working capital. Moving forward De Aar Solar Power expects to continue its support of this fledgling enterprise by providing them with business mentorship.

“The help from De Aar Solar Power has helped to get our small business off the ground and set us on the right path. The development programme has addressed our most fundamental needs, which included the purchase of much needed stock, giving us the chance to improve our turnover and profits. Furthermore, the vehicle is more reliable now after being fixed and I am now able to be on time at our regular location but moreover, this enables me to take my truck to major events such as the past Easter Premiers Football Tournament – so the areas that we service have expanded,” added John Rietels.

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