Circlinkz Primary Manufacturing Co-operative
Laingsburg is a rural community situated in the Western Cape, in South Africa. It is the smallest municipality within the Western Cape area with less than 9000 community members. Laingsburg is divided into various districts; Goldnerville, Bergsig, Maatjiesfontein and Vleiland ( the latter are the farm areas.)
Laingsburg is a poor community with a high rate of unemployment. Laingsburg was identified by a funding organisation that specialises in development, and was earmarked for a number of training workshops and the erection of sport for change pitches.
As part of the Sport for Change pitch program the Organisation opened up a competition to various partner and contracted organisations to come up with an innovative business idea that will not only empower the communities where they are serving , but also create a plan that will be able to assist the municipality with sustaining the Sport for Change Pitches. This plan would create a stronger sustainability model and facilitate collaboration and ownership between the municipality and the community members of Laingsburg. This model creates employment for members of the community that would not have employment but has s skill that could be used to serve the community.
Arise Community Development Projects entered the competition, whereby they proposed to assist the community to start a co-operative (social business). Arise was successful and the contract to implement the strategy was awarded.
Step 1: A number of members of the three communities were asked to provide personal information and to apply to become members of a co-operative.
Step 2: A meeting was held with the selected group
Step 3: Seed funding received
Step 4: Training was conducted over 5 days that included the formation meeting and the acceptance of the co-operative constitution, appointment of the Board of Directors.
Step 5 Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Arise and the Municipality of Laingsburg
Step 6: Implementation of the co-operative business
- These members did not have any entrepreneurial skills and they had to be taught how to acquire these values
- Many members were afraid of selling their products
- Fear of Marketing
- Laingsburg is a small community, so distribution of products is a challenge
How the co-operative overcame the challenges
- Members were willing to learn
- Members appointed a marketing person
- Distribution was circulated outside the Laingsburg area
- Training and mentorship is an ongoing process until such time that the co-operative members are able to stand alone without constant assistance
- Seed funding must be able to carry the co-operative for at least 6 months and this includes operational expenses.
- This will ensure that the co-operative has some time to accumulate finances and be pro-active with production
The co-operative must be able to collaborate with the municipality in order meet its objectives
Working together (Unity)
- Co-operative members are learning each other’s characteristics and many members could not deal with each other and there was a high intolerance level.
- Constructive meetings and small teambuilding sessions assisted with this challenge
- The co-operative managed to accrue revenue within the first month of operation.