Arthur Sithole, 32, shows that vision and an appetite for risk pays off.
His history in sales and marketing helped Arthur to take his family business, Elo Events, to the next level. At the time they were only operating over weekends and servicing private events like weddings and birthday parties. But Arthur had bigger plans…
His first move after joining the company in 2016 was taking out a R100 000 loan to buy top of the range furniture. “Events management is a saturated market — your offering has to be unique.”
At the time, people in Mpumalanga had to source trendy and unique furniture in Johannesburg. They could now turn to Elo Events. “With the first month of operating we secured a client who paid R40,000.”
Elo Events now service corporate clients, including a Mpumalanga-based gold mine. They’re also looking for land so they can offer a holistic experience. “It’s all good and well that you can put up a tent but there is value in having a space where big corporates and individuals can be connected to resources. People and corporates want an experience. They want places to host conferences or bridal parties. They also need accommodation. We want to provide all these services and others such as beauty salons and a bakery. We will lease out some of the space in our venue to businesses that are related to events.”
All of the above points to a bold growth strategy, just some of the business skills he gained from taking part in the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme. The programme offers intensive skills training workshops, face-to-face mentorship, and access to funds and markets. Entrepreneurs are upskilled in all aspects of running a successful business – from costing and pricing, marketing and PR, to financial management and human resources. Since starting on the programme, Arthur says that he now runs the business more professionally.
“I was exposed to seasoned trainers in different aspects of business management, from finance and sales to marketing and human resources. As an entrepreneur, you think you know about business as we tend to be a jack of all trades. Tholoana made me realise how much I didn’t know, especially about compliance.”
He says the programme also helped him realise the value of transferring skills to his employees and gave him a support system in the form of his mentor and other participants.
“Having a mentor has proved to be valuable. Every entrepreneur gets a mentor who comes into your business once a month to set goals and targets, and to review the business. They help put structures in place where they are needed, and they give you a huge wake-up call. There is also the benefit of having access to SAB BizAssist that you can get assistance with accounting and other systems,” he says.
His Tholoana mentor, Sezanele Zondi, is positive about the company’s future, “Arthur is highly motivated and has a proper growth strategy to ensure that the business remains a market leader and a profitable. I am pleased with his growth and leadership skills.”
He adds, “Tholoana helps you with your head and heart space because if you crumble, the whole business goes down with you. It’s a very holistic programme that takes both the enterprise and the entrepreneur into consideration.”
For more information about Elo Events, contact Arthur Sithole or call him on 0728346908.
For more information about the Tholoana Enterprise programme visit the website.