Saturday, March 2, 2024

ECO trolleys: The next generation of street vending?

A concerted effort between Lesoso Solar Multipurpose Co-Operative Society Limited, and StreetCare (Pty) Ltd which is a South African based company could bring a much needed relief to local street vendors.

The local vendors’ burden of having to hire cabs-taxis or even carrying their wares to and from their residences to strategic selling points every morning and evening will soon be history.

Through a project called Fresh Standard, this joint venture inverted ‘Eco Trolleys’. These are light, welded collapsible trolleys, designed to contain various merchandise: from small tuck shops- stocking general retail business goods; to fast foods, to barber shops; hauled by bicycles.

“The prices vary from size to size. For tuck shop the space is much smaller than that of a fast food business which would contain such things as braai stand and other wares. So the prices vary from P35 000 to P40 000. The price is inclusive of the hauling power-bicycle,” explained StreetCare Director, Ben Sassman.

He further explained that the Eco Trolley is a robustly built mobile business which has been made completely mobile to give the young entrepreneur mobility in choosing or changing business location. He said the concept was conceived following the South African president, Jacob Zuma’s motivation that South Africans be innovative to create business opportunities, employment and boost economy in a sustainable manner. Looking around, he and his team identified the important role informal sector plays and the challenges faced by the players therein.

As for Mogomotsi Mokongwa, Fresh Standard Director and Chairperson of Lesoso Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited said his two weeks trip to India some years ago where he went to bench mark how he would improve livelihoods back home opened the way to this concept. Uopn his return, when he had visited South Africa with his Legislator, Dikgang Makgalemele he was impressed to realize that what he harbored as just a concept was actually an on-going project. Partnership started forthwith and the results would be reaped very soon.

“We are proud to reduce the eye sore caused by tables and other temporary structures that are used by informal entrepreneurs in various business ‘hotspots’ in townships. Even more impressive is the fact that these Eco Trolleys are environment friendly and have the potential to motivate, especially young entrepreneurs,” said Mokongwa.

“Fresh Standard has setup its production workshop in Lobatse where we are at the stage of having our Inspection done for our Licence. The operation will employ a minimum of sixteen local staff that will be joining two South African Fitter and Turners in running the Lobatse workshop,” said Sassman. He added that if things go according to plan, by next Thursday they would be operational.

He went on to enlighten that the Eco Trolley has been robustly engineered and built to support one of nine businesses, this includes: Chesa Nyama, Cut and Go ÔÇô Hairdresser, Fruit and Veg, Car Wash, Tuck Shop, Popcorn/ Candy Floss Maker, Coffee on the Go – (Vintino’s) (not Included), Recycling Bins, Skambane (Bunny Chow), Running Legs (Chicken on the Go).  They are in the planning stage of introducing that of shining Shoes repairing and cleaning of all kind of shoes.

“The plan for distribution is to supply young male and female entrepreneurs wishing to start their own businesses with these trolleys. Fresh Standard is planning on using Botswana as a springboard into SADC and the rest of Africa, first targeting Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia, but the potential is there to supply the rest of Africa with the Eco Trolley,” he said.

They are currently talking to companies in Botswana to act as Agents (distributors) taking their product to market as their core business will only be production. They are very excited about the Joint Venture and the future of Fresh Standard in Botswana.

Lesoso Solar Multipurpose Co-Operative Society Limited owns 20 per cent of Fresh Standard shares while StreetCare (Pty) Ltd owns the other 80 per cent.



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