Edge Growth backs South African service station business

Posted on: 12 June, 2020 at 8:58 AM

South African fund manager Edge Growth, through its Edge Action Fund, has awarded a debt loan investment to Engen Belfast, a wholly black-women-owned company that is bringing jobs and income to Belfast, a small town in Mpumalanga.

Established in 2011, Edge Action is Edge Growth’s own in-house Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) fund. Its purpose is to provide companies with ESD budgets of less than R50 million with a pooled but effective way to implement their ESD strategy, and bespoke solutions to corporates with budgets greater than R50 million.

“The investment in Engen Belfast 1 Stop was a landmark investment for the Edge Action Fund and the Engen Convoy Fund. This investment shows our commitment to giving black-owned businesses a fighting chance in the market by backing their potential with funding support,” says Mooketsi Diseko, Edge Growth lead deal maker.

In 2011 Ms Ligwa and Ms Ngcongo started Siphigugu Trading 96 (Pty) Ltd for the purposes of investing in and running a filling station, the fulfilment of a long-held dream. Their opportunity finally came in 2013 when Engen Prakmat was put on the market. The ladies took a huge step and quit their secure corporate jobs, securing the purchase using their own pensions and the help of an investment partner. Using their theoretical knowledge on the management of a forecourt and Engen’s systems from their tenure as employees in the petroleum corporate, they quickly grasped the skills needed to turn their knowledge into successful service station management. Tackling each challenge with grit and the sheer will to win, they turned the business around and carved a place for themselves in the Stanger community in KwaZulu Natal.

In 2018 the entrepreneurs got wind of an Engen 1 Stop site for sale in Belfast and decided to pursue the opportunity to run one of Engen’s key retail sites along the N4 highway. Having paid the last instalment to their founding loan for the Prakmat site in December 2018, they were in a favourable position to add a second Engen forecourt to their portfolio.

They approached Edge Growth with regards to a loan in 2019.

The new filling station has 92 employees whose jobs will be sustained through the loan. Staff come from the surrounding disadvantaged communities and Edge Growth anticipates an increase in job creation with future growth of the site.

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