The Hollywood Foundation, through its Enterprise and Supplier Development programme, continues to support female-owned businesses throughout the country.
On Friday, 31 March 2023, the Hollywood Foundation made a meaningful contribution to a female-owned fuel service station in Durban called Thandekile Projects (PTY) Ltd. The contribution included high-pressure washers, vacuum cleaners, an industrial spray wash, foam spray nozzles, a hose set and signage for a car wash situated at the BP garage Moore Road in Durban.
The event was attended by various stakeholders and clients who came in their numbers to witness the official handover. The fuel service station is owned by Dr Thandi Mathabethe-Ngxongo and is a popular one-stop shop for all fuel and food needs. The garage services a base of residential customers from Glenwood, Umbilo, Berea and surrounding areas.
Dr. Thandi took over the garage a month before the COVID-19 lockdown, and she was under tremendous pressure because of the huge drop in volumes. Due to this, some loyal customers work from home and travel less, and with the price increase, customers are not travelling as much as before, and universities around are adopting hybrid and online teaching methods. All these factors have severely affected the business, and as a result, the business is struggling to meet its financial obligation.
Dr. Thandi is a qualified chemical engineer and she has worked for nearly 16 years at Engen Refinery, where she was a national Health Safety Environment Quality Business Partner Manager. She said that too many Black females battle to break into male-dominated industries, such as the petroleum retail industry.
“They struggle to access funding from financial institutions which is necessary for their businesses to survive as they do not have an inheritance or enough savings to access this industry. Secondly, those who are able to pass the finance stage and get funding often find themselves with yet another challenge. They do not have enough experience to handle the pressures of this industry and the complexity of running this business which runs twenty-four hours a day and incorporates different business streams,” said Dr. Thandi.
After hearing of her struggles, the Hollywood Foundation saw the need to support her through a contribution of equipment to boost her car wash business. Talking about the contribution, she said, “My appreciation goes to the Hollywood Foundation for supporting businesses and communities, especially women-owned businesses. The equipment that the Hollywood Foundation sponsored has enabled me to grow and expand business offerings, as well as create additional six employment opportunities. Ngiyabonga.”
Babongile Mkhize, the Group Transformation Manager for Hollywoodbets, said, “Our support for Thandekile Projects is due to her being one of the few women who own a fuel service station, and we want to see more women break into the industry knowing that they have the support or backing of companies and organisations like us. We are an organisation that supports women entrepreneurs who are playing an increasingly larger role in the South African economy and seeing them thrive is of tremendous importance for future economic growth.”