The AIDC Incubation Programmes Department was responsible for launching South Africa’s first Automotive Incubation Centre at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s Silverton plant in 2011 and the Winterveld Enterprise Hub: Automotive in 2014. A second Automotive Incubation Centre is under construction at Nissan South Africa’s plant in Rosslyn, and will be operational during the second half of 2015.
Incubator models have proven to be highly successful globally but it is a fairly new concept for South African-based OEMs. The AIDC pioneered the incubation concept within the local automotive industry, to provide support to Black-owned enterprises and nurture these companies during their start-up phases.
These start-up businesses benefit from the AIDC’s programme because they operate within the Incubation facility, receive subsidised rental, are mentored and trained by professionals, while receiving business development and financial support, among others. The idea also supports the AIDC’s mandate to create jobs and develop sustainable SMMEs.
The AIDC provides shared services such as Human Resources, Finance and Payroll at a nominal fee to the incubatees. Their current Automotive Incubation Centre programme runs from five to seven years, whereafter the incubatees then graduate from the incubator and be able to establish themselves as fully-fledged businesses in the automotive industry. The objectives of the Incubation Programme Department are to:
• identify individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations and abilities, thereafter nurture them into successful businesses,
• provide business support, mentoring and training to the incubatees, and
• identify opportunities in the automotive sector for new components to be included in the incubators with the ultimate objective of increasing local content for the sector.
Automotive Incubation Centre (FORD)
The AIDC’s Automotive Incubation Centre at Ford currently houses five Black-owned companies who supply automotive components directly to the OEM’s production line. They are now in their fourth year of incubation. Each of the five incubatees are subcontracted to a Tier 1 component supplier who then provides technical mentoring as required. The AIDC remains optimistic that all of their incubatees, after graduating, would be able to operate their own successful and sustainable businesses.
The AIDC has also started encouraging their incubatees to supplement their portfolio with new customers.
Winterveld Enterprise Hub
Winterveld Enterprise Hub: Automotive, plays a pivotal role in upskilling individuals and supporting the growth of local SMMEs, with a particular focus on auto body repairs and spray painting. Winterveld has always had a strong, yet largely informal, automotive presence. The purpose of the hub is to expose the local SMME’s to modern auto body repair equipment and methodology and to formalise and develop their businesses by facilitating economic transformation within this area.
Automotive Incubation Centre (NISSAN)
Following the success of the AIDC’s Automotive Incubation Centre at Ford, various OEMs in Gauteng have expressed interest in establishing similar facilities at their plants. The AIDC’s second Automotive Incubation Centre is currently being built at Nissan’s plant in Rosslyn and would be able to house in excess of 10 new SMMEs once fully operational towards the second half of 2016.