Pay it forward to build a better South Africa

Whether you call it paying it forward, corporate social investment, or community-centred commerce, for companies like Haslop & Mason, business is more than rands and cents – it’s about uplifting partners along the way.

It’s one reason Haslop & Mason managing member Kevin Dersley says he supports the government’s Supplier Development Programme initiative.

It builds a closer working relationship between companies and their suppliers while helping them become more effective. The programme is designed to build technical capability and capacity among small businesses through skills and technology transfer from larger companies to SMMEs.

Dersley says Haslop & Mason chose one of their suppliers, NextFour, as a development candidate “because of their approach to business”.

“It’s also because of their level of service and their commitment to us as a customer,” he says.

He sees his role as one of mentorship to a company that was building up business experience.

“This entails offering business advice, insight, and skills, but not being involved in their day-to-day operations,” says Dersley. “The aim is to help build them into a more successful company that will grow, create revenue and build employment.

“It’s about building a better South Africa.”

Siva Naidoo heads NextFour, which began providing services to Haslop & Mason several years ago. He started in the industry in the late 1980s. His former employer spotted his potential and placed him in an accelerated development course.

“They nominated me to Stellenbosch Business School in 1998/99 and, upon completing my studies, I was appointed as a manager,” recalls Naidoo.

But it had always been his dream to be an entrepreneur, and in 2011 he left the safety of his permanent employment to pursue that dream, co-founding Open V Telecoms.

Self-funded, NextFour opened in 2018 in Graaff-Reinet, later moving to PE. Naidoo says he wanted to offer his skills and passion to other business start-ups.

“If you have a business idea, come to NextFour,” he said. “Our services include business registration, logo design, business cards, websites, telephone systems, internet and cybersecurity, and remote management – the whole business consulting deal.”

In 2019, Haslop & Mason enrolled NextFour in its Supplier Development Programme.

“The capital they invested enabled me to expand my business to open the branch in George,” Naidoo says. “Even during the Covid lockdown in 2020, this support allowed me to expand the business footprint by maintaining a forward-thinking approach.”

Together, Haslop & Mason and NextFour will continue to pay it forward, enabling the entrepreneurial efforts of SMMEs to succeed, says Dersley.