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Digital initiative aimed at mobilising brands in townships

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) underway, one disadvantage that black-owned township businesses, entertainment and lifestyle brands have is keeping up with the digital space to push their brands further. Fortunately, an initiative which prides itself in providing the necessary exposure has been implemented and managed to bring eKasi brands to the global limelight.

You may have read about an amazing story of a young designer from Tsakane; proud owner of Tshepo Jean Clothing Range. He made international headlines when the Duchess of Sussex specially ordered her own pair of jeans and went to collect them personally. This is what Township Brands is doing for small enterprises that are waiting to make a significant impact to the world. With everything going digital, the onus is upon such businesses to use the advantages that come with the 4IR.

Co-founder of Township Brands Refiloe Molefe, believes that businesses and entertainment companies have the potential to grow bigger. Restrictions that come into play can be overcome with their help. He gives an example of one of the first brands they worked with called ‘Walk Fresh’ which is a shoe cleaning company that started off in a four room house. With their services, they helped grow the business to the point where it opened another branch in Soweto and Sandton.

The townships that they have started operating in are Umlazi and Duduza where they tested the waters and listed the brands with potential and thereafter monitored their growths.

Other businesses the company has marketed include Pex Lifestyle in Rondebuilt and Sphalala Hair Salon in uMlazi. Popular ones are G-Spot Lifestyle, Ekasi Tech Festival and Explore Ekasi on various campaigns. They have all grown exceptionally over the recent years.

The biggest project they are to embark on is a Township Brands store in Alexander Mall, where they have been offered the opportunity to run a retail operation that trades with township-based businesses – thus offering growth within the small retail sector.

“This will provide us and eKasi brands with an opportunity to co-work and create a retail outlet that will [give] them access to bigger markets and grow the township [economy].

“We always felt that marketing and specifically digital marketing in the townships was not well promoted, and it gives us great excitement to be at the forefront in promoting township based businesses in the digital space,” he says.

Although this is a task that can be done internally, not everyone is equipped to do so; which gives people the leeway to take advantage of many small businesses at eKasi. Molefe explains that they do not charge brands for promotion on social media currently. It is only brands that approach them where they then charge nominal fees.

“Townships are unfortunately being given lip service by government and private sector, in some townships getting basic services such as 4G coverage can be a challenge. No known mainstream home-to-fibre services tailored for the township economy exists. Clearly this economy will be passed over by the 4IR,” he adds.

Follow them on Twitter. Their handle is: @TownshipBrands

~ jess@ngcoboempire.co.za

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