MP businesswoman hopes furniture competition will help her create jobs

The Ermelo-based Mpumalanga businesswoman, Ms Tholakele Nkosi (32) who designs and manufactures furniture, is looking forward to the prize-giving ceremony of the National Furniture Design Competition where she is the only finalist from the province. The competition is presented by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

The competition is aimed at identifying and nurturing furniture design talent, raise the profile of furniture manufacturing in South Africa and to grow the industry’s competitiveness by encouraging new product design and differentiation.

Winners of the competition will be announced at the Proudly South African Buy Local Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg on Tuesday, 12 March 2019. All the finalists in two categories, namely Students and Established Manufacturers, will also get an opportunity to exhibit their designs at the summit.

Nkosi was in the process of seeking information about getting a stamp of approval for the products that her company, Nape Mbhele manufacturers, when she stumbled upon the furniture competition. The theme of the competition is making the best use of the minimum available space in a house. With the help of Mr Sandile Ndlangamandla (21), a Civil Engineering and Building Construction student at the Gert Sibande TVET College, she designed a unique, multipurpose bed, and stylishly attractive television stand that captured the imagination of the judges, resulting in her being nominated as a finalist.

“We are looking forward to the announcement of the winners next week. Our nomination as finalists in the national competition of this magnitude is a great achievement for a small company like ours. It is inspiring to us greatly. To us being there amongst a group of talented furniture designers from across the country is a confirmation that we have the potential to make it big in this industry,” says Nkosi.

She adds that the national exposure that her company will receive from being in the competition and from participating in the exhibition of the popular Proudly South African Buy Local Summit will boost the profile of the company, and probably the company’s bank balance.

“I have no doubt that the designs that we will display at the exhibition will impress many people who will then place orders. We could be able to grow our company, employ more people and start producing furniture in bulk if we could get owners of hotels, guest houses and furniture shops to place orders. We will then be able to buy the necessary machinery and expand our business,” says Nkosi.

Mpumalanga businesswoman, Ms Tholakele Nkosi and Mr Sandile Ndlangamandla putting the finishing touches to the demo bed they will be displaying at the Buy Local Summit in Johannesburg where winners of the National Furniture Design competition will be announced.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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