Ashlee Nankoo’s business is a good testimonial for “informal going formal” within the small business fraternity. Ashlee Panel Shop CC was established in 1998, but was formally registered in 2003. In a sector with a high number of unregistered businesses operating in the informal side, Ashlee’s move has been beneficial as it has led to significant growth in his business, access to finance and business mentorship.
Ashlee says, “We view Seda as an invaluable partner in the growth and success of Ashlee panel shop. Their on-going support through mentorship and a wide range of interventions is testimony to their belief in the sustainability of our business”.
Ashlee Panel Shop provides 24 Hours breakdown and towing services, professional panel beating and spray painting, chassis straightening and professional technical advice on motor body and structural repairs.
Seda was roped in to assist with the development of the company’s overall branding and signage and the development of a business plan to facilitate business expansion. In a nutshell, Seda had to assist Ashlee to become a mainstream automotive service provider. Seda’s assessment concluded that the following had to be undertaken before Ashlee could compete with established companies in the market.
The company needed to secure bigger premises to operate from, and new technologically advanced equipment. Ashlee also needed to secure registration on insurance companies’ panel of service providers, and initiate a marketing strategy to attract new clients. The managers were also going to be offered business training and mentorship.
Positive results followed Seda’s intervention with the company securing funding of over R6,5 million rand to implement its expansion plans. The funding from the Black Business Supplier Development Programme, Seda Technology Transfer Fund, National Empowerment Fund and Mutual & Federal, has been used to secure new facilities and increase the staff complement to 16 from 9 employees before Seda’s intervention.
Ashlee Panel shop is also certified autobody repairer for a number of international motor brands. Most importantly, its revenues have topped R6 million a year, whilst a survey of its customers experience has come out in the top bracket – guaranteeing this business’ long future ahead.
“We can never underestimate the role played by both the Seda provincial and Mangaung offices. Thank you Seda for your continuous support”, says Ashlee.