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KZN entrepreneur on transforming containers into business units


Isivuno – a container conversion, rental and supply company – has been awarded the Judges’ Prize at the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year competition, sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners.

Her business, which converts shipping containers into in-house designed offices, small homes and ablutions for sale and rent, supplies municipalities, SMMEs, rural communities and corporates.

Gumbi is the founder and owner of Isivuno Container Business, based in Pinetown.

It was established in 2005 to offer a creative solution to the dire shortage of infrastructure and service delivery in both urban and rural communities.

Isivuno’s refurbished containers can be erected within a short space of time and are mobile and versatile.

The Judges’ Prize is an award that was introduced to the 30-year-old competition in 2014 to recognise businesses that may not yet be at the same level – in terms of size and turnover – of the competition winners, but make a special impression on the judges due to their business’s social impact and future prospects and the entrepreneur’s attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

“Beverley’s energy is just contagious and, while she is a female with no engineering experience or technical training, she is tackling a traditionally male-dominated industry and making a success of it!” said this year’s competition judges.

“I want to contribute to the local economic growth and socially sustainable development through the manufacture, design and supply of ‘fit for a purpose’ converted shipping containers and park homes for communities and SMMEs at extremely competitive rates,” she said.

“Having focused mainly on the conversion of ordinary shipping containers into business and dwelling units, we are well on our way to becoming the local enterprise development partner of choice.

However, our sights are set higher than this, and we hope to one day penetrate other African markets by forming strategic partnerships with formidable companies across the continent,” said Gumbi.

The business has already shown tremendous growth from its early days where the majority of the equipment was rented, to now, where it owns all of its equipment and tools.

When asked what she is most proud of, Gumbi says that her greatest pride comes from seeing the innovative solutions that Isivuno has been responsible for creating over time.

“In addressing the various challenges that our clients present us with, we have created a number of truly innovative products. These include a waterless ablution facility to address ablution challenges in rural and underdeveloped areas, the popular waterborne or waterless shower/toilet combo, and doctor’s consulting rooms to encourage people to get tested and know their HIV status,” she said.

“We have even converted a shipping container into a cinema before – the possibilities are truly endless,” she added.

The competition judges said it is this innovative nature and contagious sense of determination that has made Beverley Gumbi a deserving winner at this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition.



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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