VWSA, Raizcorp open business incubator in Eastern Cape

Raizcorp Uitenhage branchVolkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has entered into a partnership with business incubator specialist Raizcorp to boost the development of small businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay, in the Eastern Cape.

VWSA’s investment of R5-million a year over an initial three-year period will train up to 16 local entrepreneurs.

Nine beneficiaries are already undergoing training at the site, with more to follow. Raizcorp will manage the project’s business support centre on a day-to-day basis.

The company offers a three-year entrepreneurial development programme to beneficiaries, who undergo a rigorous selection process. It provides Council of Higher Education accredited learning modules (NQF level 5 or diploma equivalent), entrepreneurial mentorship and all the systems and resources to grow small companies into profitable businesses.

Raizcorp supports more than 230 businesses nationally, and has managed to increase the turnover and profitability of over 86% of the companies participating in and complying with its development programme. The Eastern Cape launch marks the seventh centre of its kind in the country.

“With an 11-year track record of success in entrepreneurship development, VWSA is pleased to partner with Raizcorp on this project,” says Volkswagen Managing Director, David Powels.

“The project will contribute to local economic development by creating local business leaders who are vibrant, competent and motivated entrepreneurs.

“They, in turn, will grow companies which create new jobs and enhance social inclusion.

“On average, successful entrepreneurial businesses create between five and 20 new jobs per business over a five-year period. This will help to reduce the high unemployment rate in Nelson Mandela Bay, where good jobs are desperately needed,” notes Powels.

Business incubators have a track record of growing successful entrepreneurial businesses, and reversing the failure rate of entrepreneurial start-ups, he adds.

In South Africa there are between 30 and 40 recognised incubator projects, whereas Brazil has more than 400 – where the unemployment rate is 6.3%, compared with 25% in South Africa. Volkswagen’s corporate social investment (CSI) programme has a strong focus on enterprise development.

“The key principles guiding us in deciding which projects to support are that they are holistic, comprehensive and sustainable,” says Powels.

“Furthermore, it is essential that the projects we support are measurable, able to create a deep and abiding legacy while, at the same time, embodying Volkswagen’s values. This has now evolved into a wider strategic focus encompassing the community, the environment and relevant stakeholders as we strive to become ‘a company with meaning and impact.”

VWSA also encourages the participation of its employees in its CSI initiatives, and has since 2005 been part of the Volkswagen Group’s international programme ‘One Hour for the Future’, which sees Volkswagen employees donate the equivalent of one hour of their monthly salary to a good cause.

Source: Creamer Media Reporter / Engineering News

VWSA pumps R500m into a new press shop

Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) has started construction of a new R500 million press shop in its Uitenhage assembly plant. The investment is in addition to the R4.5 billion the car maker has invested in South Africa over the past four years.

David Powels, VWSA’s group managing director, said the investment would enable further local content gains and improvements to overall competitiveness when it was fully operational from the middle of next year.

“Construction of the new press shop was a strategic investment. Its installed capacity will cover the forecast total production requirements for the manufacture of larger sheet metal components,” he said at a sod turning for the new press shop last week. He said the project would create 50 new construction crew jobs. The new building will consist of an 8 429m2 main production hall, to house the state-of-the-art six-stage press line and its required services.

The main contractor for the project is Group Five Coastal with main sub-contractors Esorfranki Africa responsible for piling and Scott Steel for structural fabrication. BKS is the consulting engineer and Germany’s IC-L the pit design sub-consultant .

Powel said a lot of thought had gone into the effect the building would have on the environment and the new press shop would be VWSA’s most “ecofriendly” building.

Hubert Waltl, a member of the VW brand board of management and chairman of VWSA, stressed VW’s commitment to South Africa had never been stronger.

“The R4bn investment by VWSA in its plant included R40 million in increased automation in its press shop; R780m in its body shop; R400m in its engine plant; R400m in its final assembly plant; R40m in its wheel and tyre assembly plant; R100m in renovating its logistics facilities; R25m in training academies; R80m in other production support areas; and massive but undisclosed investment in its quality measurement facilities.”

A number of suppliers have collectively invested about R600m in South Africa, which has contributed significantly towards VWSA dramatically improving its local content levels. These include Rehau, Benteler, Flextech, Faurecia and Grupo Antolin.

source: IOL, Roy Cokayne

German components firm opens R178m Uitenhage facility

DAVID POWELS, Volkswagen SA Managing Director, says Benteler is key to VW Group SA's business strategy to increase the local content on the new Polo and the Polo Vivo “Benteler is key to VW Group SA’s business strategy to increase the local content on the new Polo and the Polo Vivo to in excess of 70%,” adds VW Group SA MD David Powels.

Benteler, together with other parts manufacturers – Faurecia, Grupo Antolin, Rehau and Flex Tech – has invested more than R700-million and created more than 600 jobs in the logistics park in the past 12 months, he says.

“Importantly, this investment enables VW Group SA to manufacture in excess of 120 000 vehicles a year for both the export and domestic markets. It is exactly this level of investment that helps provide an original- equipment manufacturer (or car manufacturer), with a hedge against the threat of imports to the South African automotive manufacturing industry,” says Powels.

“Four years ago, VW Group SA commenced a R5-billion investment programme in new plant, new technologies, new product and the required people skills development. One of the fundamental pillars of this ambitious investment programme was to take local content levels from below 40% to in excess of 70%. Together with Benteler and our other suppliers, we have achieved this.”

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu source: Engineering News