Press releases

University of Pretoria aims to Elevate Brand to Highest Potential

12 June 2017

The Enactus team from the University of Pretoria (UP), is on a mission to unlock the growth of Rustenburg-based fashion house, KF Brands’ tyres-to-fashion and work gear business. In doing so, they also aim to reduce the negative impact that discarded tyres have on the environment and bolster skills and employment opportunities for members of the community.

For realising this opportunity with KF Brands, The UP team has been recognised as one of the eight finalists for the Barloworld Social Innovation Youth Awards (BSIYA) competing at the judging ceremony on Friday, 30 June, as part of the Enactus platform that brings tertiary students, academic advisors and business leaders together to improve socio-economic conditions in South African communities.

KF brands, identified a creative way to help save the environment by recycling trye tubes into handbags, travel bags and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers in the mining and construction industry.

The idea behind KF Brands in up-cycling tyre tubes into bags was inspired by a government initiative (from the Department of Environmental Affairs), to recycle tyres and tyre tubes that have been discarded, as opposed to dumping them in landfills which causes harm to the environment.

Two opportunities exist in the market for KF brands, firstly, through the supply of PPE to mining and construction companies by providing durable and reliable pouches workers can carry their equipment in and secondly, for the broader fashion market, to create and supply timeless custom-made luxury bags.

“We aim to help the business enter and leave its mark on the fashion industry, increase the business’ social media presence to gain more exposure, seek sponsorship to help expand the businesses’ capacity, and to find ways to increase the demand for the protective bags from mining and construction companies. Indeed, our biggest achievement would be to help this local brand offer its products to as many retail stores in South Africa as possible,” says Enactus UP Team Leader, Kim Vermaak.

From a revenue stream, the project sees 70% from the mining and construction industry, 20% from customised bags and 10% from retail and online stores.

“We believe that continuing to market this initiative will contribute to the economy by, creating employment, growing partnerships with suppliers of recyclable materials and encouraging people to think innovatively about saving our environment,” explains Vermaak.

A National Development Plan (NDP) goal is for the small business sector to create 90% of South Africa’s 11 Million jobs needed by 2020.

Says Group Executive of Corporate Affairs at Barloworld, Sibani Mngomezulu: “SMME’s are major drivers of economic growth in South Africa and globally. Barloworld seeks to be a catalyst for change and to contribute to the empowerment and transformation initiatives that will ensure the sustainability of our broader society. We are excited to be able to play a supportive and encouraging role for teams from Enactus in the BYISA and beyond.”