When a construction company lost essential tools during the July 2021 civil unrest, it was in much need of assistance.

Thanks to the Installation, Repairs and Maintenance (IRM) Hub project in the Mandeni Municipality which is supported by the Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme and implemented by the National Business Initiative (NBI), Indrani Govender of Ricinz Construction was put back on her feet.

The project which focuses on SMEs and unemployed youth, is providing support to 19 local IRM SMEs with business development support and coaching.

Indrani’s background is in retail and she was boarded for post-traumatic stress disorder after a horrific accident and then being robbed at gunpoint. She started Ricinz Construction after finally having “the guts to go into business on my in own” in 2010. In its early days, she submitted 36 tenders, never giving up hope until she was finally awarded a tender on the 37th attempt.

Ricinz started with grass cutting and landscaping and then saw business opportunities during winter when those services hit a lull. Ms Govender signed up on different programmes to branch out into other areas the business now offers. Ricinz shifted to construction as its core business, focusing on building, plumbing, civils, paving and carpentry. The business now offers three stand-alone but complementary services, namely, construction, electrical and telecommunications.


Ricinz is registered with all relevant associations and has won many awards over the years, some of which offered financial support which was pumped back into the business. Ricinz has also won awards for job creation for women and youth in rural areas.

Ms Govender explained that entrepreneurship is a very lonely journey, especially as a woman in a male-dominated field.

“There are times where I am in desperate need of assurance, so I have been able to just pick up the phone and call the IRM business advisor who is there to listen, mentor and advise, and give support during difficult times.

“Finance is the lifeblood of the business. I had always had problems with not having the right accountants or accounting systems, but through the project’s support, a reputable accounting company was appointed, and I now have accounting systems that have been set up so I know that my finances are in order.”

Business advisor for the IRM Hub programme, Sipho Nkosi, echoed that a major stumbling block for SMEs is financial management practices, especially where they are experiencing sudden growth or have secured large contracts which necessitates that they make significant financial outlays.

“Our main focus in the project is to support these SMEs in business development, compliance which is a big requirement for SMEs, access to finance and linkages to market, optimising how business owners run their businesses,” said Mr Nkosi.

A requirement for the businesses that were onboarded is that they need to create employment opportunities for graduates of the Umfolozi TVET College in the artisanal skills. An innovative part of the project is that some of the SMEs are being supported to create sub-contract opportunities for the other SMEs which are in start-up phase.

For Ms Govender, employing local staff is key she is passionate about his.

“It is all about changing people’s lives and job creation so if I can create a job for one person, this makes it satisfying for me. My greatest asset is my staff, and Ricinz employs learners and graduates from the Umfolozi TVET College. My motto is that we rise through raising others.”


PHOTO: Indrani Govender of Ricinz Construction