Bright by name. Bright by nature. Bright through sheer hard work and dogged determination participated in the Sasol Siyazenzela Youth Programme (SSYB) in 2015, facilitated with the assistance of female-owned Tushiyah Advisory Services.
Today Secunda’s Bright Cirrel Hlatshwayo runs his own tile decor business with branches in Secunda and Pretoria and a R1.2m annual turnover.
“Not too shabby for a man born in Tenbosch farm and raised in a village called Phiva in Malelane,” he grins. He thanks his folks for “instilling the entrepreneurial spirit unintentionally as we sold small products for survival”. “From primary school my popcorn, sweets, eet-some-more biscuits and peanuts were a sellout,” he recalls. Later he graduated to “selling some veggies to our local community”. At Gebhuza High School, studying commerce, business, he sold his own bananas and peanuts roping in mum to add to his coffers selling the same on the farm she worked at.
Bright says the previously disadvantaged inspire him as they are driven “to succeed against all odds”. “Vusi Thembekwayo is one of my inspiration entrepreneurs. The way he set up his business and his planning was exemplary.” Through Tushiyah he, entered the SSYB, gaining mentorship and training on areas like marketing, finance, how to deal with production costs and how to be a better entrepreneur. He said, “I also met fellow inspiring entrepreneurs. We continue to share our business winning ways and seeing them grow inspires me to work even harder on developing my business model.”
He said though the economic decline in the Secunda area forced some businesses to close shop. “Some of were in huge bad debt using credit facilities. But nevertheless we grew from that,” he said, quoting Joe Girard’s the “elevator of success is out of order, please use the stairs, One step at a time.”
He said Stone Décor was niched, different from the competiton.
“We have a proven record offering quality products and we are able to deal with bulk orders. Our turnover should double to R2.5m in the new year,” said he who uses the ease of the FNB banking app to monitor business. “Keeping the business trading under difficult circumstances with a nation in economic decline, being a finalist on Eskom Business, profiled on SABC1’s Making Moves and finishing in the top 4 on that competition, makes this all worthwhile.”
Now he targets the corporate market. His head office is in Doornport, Pretoria.
Learning never stops for Bright. At Milpark Business School he got his National Certificate in Banking (NQF Level 5) in 2011. Then a Leadership Certificate at Standard Bank Mpumalanga Learning and Development. He worked for a Business Management Certificate at Tushiyah in 2015 and is working on his National Diploma in Small Business at UNISA.
A workhorse Sales Consultant (African Bank Nelspruit), a Waiter (Macrib), Client Advisor (Standard Bank in Witbank), Customer Consultant (Standard Bank), Customer Consultant at Emalahleni, Business Banker at Business Banking Float and Account Analyst-float Busines/MidCorporate (Standard Bank Nigel), today its full throttle for his own.
He wants a biz boom.
“We are in talks with the likes of WBHO, Murray & Roberts and Cashbuild for us to be their preferred supplier of choice for concrete products for Secunda and surrounds.” The three-year Stone Decor goal is to be a concrete player, to get a bigger space to house product equipment. “That will give us the competitive advantage as we are the only black-owned company in Gert Sibande to manufacture concrete products.”
A Bright-er future he knows lies ahead.