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Business Accelerator Programme empowers Black female-owned business

Date: 2022-06-21 11:26:55

Business Accelerator Programme empowers Black female-owned business

XO Collection, a 100 percent black female-owned clothing manufacturer in Durban has received a boost from the Small and Medium Enterprises Business Accelerator Programme. The company, which specialises in high-end fashion and corporate wear (including medical wear), secured a letter of intent (LOI) from Durban Overall, a large workwear manufacturer.

The Business Accelerator Programme is supported by the City’s Economic Development Unit’s Industry Development Programmes Department (IDPD) and is facilitated by the KwaZulu-Natal Clothing and Textile Cluster (KZN CTC). 
Within a few months of signing the LOI, XO Collection began producing a bulk order of combat workwear shirts totalling around 4 500 units. Since then, they were able to:

• Increase their revenue between FY20 and FY21 by 30%. 
• Increase their sales volume to date (April 2022) by 150%.
• Increase total employment from 15 (January 2021) to 20 (December 2021) (including fixed-term contractors) – 30% increase in employment.
• Rearrange factory layout to accommodate additional production lines to allow for increased volumes.
• Become National Bargaining Council compliant and improve staff pay rates towards compliance levels.

XO Collection was founded by Xoliswa Hlongwane, who is a qualified Chartered Accountant, in 2018. She joined the KZN CTC Business Accelerator Programme in 2021 and after demonstrating potential to a panel of large customers, unlocked the opportunity to supply Durban Overall.

Hlongwane said she has seen tangible improvements in their processes and that their business had grown since joining the incubator programme.

“This is due to the lessons gained from the development programmes as well as the practical onsite support by our allocated mentor. This has taken our small business to another level. We are embarking on a phased expansion programme and cannot wait to see where our business will be in the medium term. Thank you for this amazing opportunity,” Hlongwane said.

The incubator programme aims to connect high-potential suppliers with tangible commercial opportunities and lead firms to facilitate market access, standards upgrading, and capital investment interventions toward sustainable growth. The programme is designed to facilitate positive commercial and transformation outcomes for lead firms and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) participants alike.

Deputy Head of the IDPD Takalani Rathiyaya congratulated XO Collection’s achievement on their transformative accelerator journey.

“We are proud that the KZN CTC continues to partner with SMEs and customers to collectively work towards improving the localisation and transformation of the clothing and textile industry in the province,” he said.