They operate from garages at times. Often with limited resources. What is the true value of a township business?
This value is often underestimated by township citizens and by a large majority of township businesses themselves. It is understandable. On a daily basis, township businesses have to deal with a plethora of struggles. For most of them, their circumstances often make them live from deal to deal, hand to mouth. However, township businesses are not truly their circumstances. They hold much more value than their set of conditions.
For instance, for many years township businesses have introduced power brands to townships. Township businesses have played a crucial role in the distribution of established brands. A lot of food brands that we consume are known to us because of the efforts of the township trader. The same applies with hair products that we consume. It is because of the local township hair salons that we know these brands. There are many various examples.
It seems like most township businesses do not see that power. They do not see themselves as big channels for large corporations to enter new markets, the township economy. This can be both good and bad, but it does not take away the value of the township business.
It is the other unseen power of township businesses that gets me very excited though.
The township economy attracts billions of rands annually. Do you know where that comes from? Salaries of everyone who lives in the township. Within a few days, debit orders hit and the first leakage starts. That money leaves the township and goes back where it was earned. In a couple of weeks, shopping starts. From groceries, toiletries to other ad hoc services, the malls are buzzing. This all happens outside the township economy. That is more leakage. The little that is left is spent on transport and rent within the township economy.
The value of a township business is to preserve the money that is injected into the economy and prevent it from leaking. That is very powerful. By positioning themselves as preferred suppliers and beating the competition outside, township businesses can preserve a big portion of that wealth and make it circulate within the township. We just need to work together to strengthen those township businesses to ensure that they can compete with what is outside. Once we enhance that value within township businesses, that is when we will see transformation in township economies. Let us not talk about the growth of township businesses in absence of a broader conversation about huge amounts that leak out every day.
The real value of a township businesses is being the preserver of township wealth. The guardians.