A fairy tale suc­cess story

CityPress - - Business -

Sacks Pack­ag­ing’s floor in Mobeni, south of Dur­ban, is a con­stant hive of ac­tiv­ity, where dif­fer­ent types of paper bags, used in ev­ery­thing from ce­ment to sugar pack­ag­ing, are made.

Be­hind this ac­tiv­ity lies the fairy tale story of a young man who grew up in a dis­ad­van­taged home, a man­age­ment buy-out funded by the IDC and a mas­sive com­mit­ment to help oth­ers.

Kevin Kis­tan, owner and CEO of Sacks, started life at the bot­tom, but through sheer hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion this dy­namo now has seven de­grees, runs the only 100% black-owned pack­ag­ing com­pany in South Africa and has cre­ated em­ploy­ment for 200 peo­ple.

Pre­vi­ously owned by Nam­pak, the com­pany was bought out by Kis­tan with fund­ing as­sis­tance from the IDC.

“I would not have been able to buy this com­pany with­out the IDC. I ap­proached nu­mer­ous com­mer­cial banks for fund­ing, but they all wanted a stake in the com­pany, so I went to the IDC and it worked out per­fectly,” he said.

The com­pany’s work­force is 95% black and 79% of its man­age­ment is also black. “For us, hav­ing black peo­ple in man­age­ment is not just about mak­ing up num­bers. We take on qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als be­cause we want them to work and con­trib­ute to­wards grow­ing the com­pany,” said Kis­tan.

One of the things Kis­tan has done is to re­fur­bish the di­lap­i­dated can­teen and the fa­cil­i­ties at the on-site clinic. A doc­tor and psy­chol­o­gist also come in weekly to fol­low up on the in-house nurs­ing sis­ter’s pa­tients.

The com­pany’s so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­grammes ex­tend across the bor­ders of the coun­try, with a spon­sor­ship to­wards the build­ing of wa­ter wells in In­dia and the con­struc­tion of a clinic in Mozam­bique.

“I didn’t get where I am with­out some­one giv­ing me an op­por­tu­nity, and I’ve made it a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional com­mit­ment to pay it for­ward by giv­ing oth­ers op­por­tu­ni­ties. Hope­fully, they do the same for oth­ers in the fu­ture.” Sacks Pack­ag­ing in num­bers: 200 jobs 80% of sales through large JSE/multi­na­tional cus­tomers

100% black-owned

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