ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT THE SKY IS THE LIMIT By: Stella Nolan
Amended General B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice
Enterprise & Supplier Development
ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT THE SKY IS THE LIMIT
By: Stella Nolan
Generally, information about B-BBEE on the internet consists
of documents issued by the Government in Gazettes or by
those operating in the B-BBEE space that communicate how
to decipher interpretations. Also represented are media reports,
typically written with a focus on the lack of transformation
and Fronting Practice. Granted, some organisations choose
Fronting Practice as part of their B-BBEE Strategy, but that only
creates an illusion of transformation. However, working in the
B-BBEE space daily and interacting with businesses committed
to transformation, most invest in the process with positive
results. B-BBEE might not be a perfect solution for delivering a
transformed South Africa; however, as things stand today, it is the
only mechanism we have for driving transformation.
I have witnessed the best and worst transformation initiatives
over the past 13 years working in the B-BBEE space. The latter,
as mentioned, creates an illusion of transformation, which, more
often than not, turns Beneficiaries into victims of financial abuse.
The National Development Plan relies on small businesses to take
our economy forward. The Codes of Good Practice recognise
this as the Enterprise Development, Supplier Development and
Socio-Economic Development elements are custom-designed
to increase small businesses’ capacity, infrastructure and
opportunities. A perfect example of this is B&K Solar Pty Ltd, a
future technology renewable energy business specialising in high
quality residential, commercial and industrial solar projects. Since
its establishment in 2019, B&K Solar has successfully grown its
footprint, whereby today, it operates nationally. As a 100% ‘Black’
Woman-owned business, B&K Solar not only provides a reliable
service, but complements the B-BBEE Scorecard of its clients.
The mission and vision of B&K Solar are to provide professional
solar and electrical building solutions, including related services,
to address its clients’ energy needs in a simplified and highly
The back story of B&K Solar
27-year-old Zanele Ngcobo is the owner of B&K Solar, an
Exempted Micro Enterprise. She was born and raised in Adams
Mission, a village in KwaZulu Natal, with no clean water, electricity
or network coverage. However, entrepreneurship and innovation
runs through her veins, as her family earned its livelihood in the
With the support of her family and a determination to succeed,
Zanele obtained a degree in Property Development and an
honours degree in Quantity Surveying. She recently completed
her master’s degree in Commerce and Leadership at the
University of KwaZulu Natal. Her other credentials include being
Alumna for Future Female Business School in Green Tech under
the UK South Africa Tech Hub.
In 2020, Pembani-Remgro selected Zanele as an Enterprise
Development Beneficiary. To begin her journey as a Pembani Remgro Beneficiary, she participated in the WorkApp Induction
Training Programme facilitated by the BEE Chamber. The
programme targets youth development by communicating
the essence of a corporate environment, business ethics,
corporate governance and B-BBEE Fundamentals. Integral
to the programme was developing and structuring a business
plan, identifying a mentor, and engaging with them effectively.
“The programme shaped my way of thinking and provided me
with the ability to create strategies to tackle the challenges of
entrepreneurship,” affirms Zanele.
TFM Magazine engaged with Zanele to grasp how she moved
B&K Solar from an idea to an organisation operating as a Good
What challenges did you encounter
when you established B&K Solar?
2020 was a challenging year for everyone. When the Covid
restrictions hit, some of our projects were postponed. Others,
where work was scheduled to commence, were cancelled due
to the financial implications of the restrictions. However, we
somehow weathered the storm to the extent that we received
international recognition by winning the East Africa Solar Energy
Leadership Award presented by the international world CRS and
were a finalist at the Business Investment Competition.
More recently, B&K Solar received the ‘South Africa Solar Energy
Leadership Award 2021’ presented by the World CSR. Later
this year, I will be travelling to Paris to receive the ‘World Quality
Commitment Award (WQC)’, an accolade from the BID Group to
recognise quality and excellence.
As an Enterprise Development Beneficiary,
what support did you receive
The timing was perfect when I was chosen as a Pembani Remgro Enterprise Development Beneficiary. Core to the success
of B&K Solar was the funding received to buy specialised tools
that allowed the business to grow. To this day, I have a good
relationship with Pembani-Remgro. The success of B&K Solar
is a testament to the commitment they have to a transforming
On reflection, what do you believe is core to
being a successful entrepreneur?
First and foremost, you have to want to succeed and be
prepared to do the leg work to build a good foundation for
yourself. For me, it was education, as I believe it is the most
powerful tool to become knowledgeable and confident. One
must be determined and prepared to dismantle barriers to entry
and create opportunities.
How did the opportunity of entering the
Green Economy come about, especially with
South Africa being so reliant on fossil fuels?
I have always had a passion for research, which drove me to
discover opportunities in the renewable energy sector, particularly
in the solar energy space. It is a niche sector to enter, as South
Africa’s primary focus is on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Globally, climate change has been identified as a challenge that
will impact every person’s life in the world. The core is lessening
greenhouse gas emissions and shrinking the carbon footprint
of countries. The result would be a worldwide investment in the
Green Economy. Thus, the renewable energy sector is set to
soar, which will, in turn, impact the pockets of South Africans.
For example, Phambili Contractors was my first client, whereby
the services of B&K Solar took them off the grid.
Can you reflect on your journey to date
from Enterprise Development Beneficiary to
being the recipient of national and
The success of B-BBEE is often brought into question. However,
in my case, it did what it was intended to do. It created an
opportunity, which I grasped with both hands. So far, my journey
has been surreal. B&K Solar is an emerging business that is
gaining traction. Moving forward, we are looking to develop
meaningful partnerships to bring a new dynamic to the business,
thus increasing our footprint. The sky is the limit.
In conclusion, some food for thought: Enterprise Development
targets are based on Net Profit After Tax; thus, this element is
often ignored until an organisation reveals its financial results.
The consequence for organisations opting to address Enterprise
Development with little or no strategy, is the dumping of funds
to tick the scorecard box. Unfortunately, dumping funds more
often than not leads to unethical third-party intervention,
whereby they steer the funds towards a beneficiary in return for
commission payments. Although not an illegal practice, one has
to ponder why organisations are comfortable with a percentage
of Beneficiary funds lining the pockets of a third party. Generally,
it is such actions that lead to adverse media reports. In contrast,
organisations that plan and contribute based on their quarterly
results yield outcomes like B&K Solar.