June 18, 2024

Thinking ‘out of the box’ inspires Dunlop-backed taxi tyre fitment centre

4 min read

Dunlop Tyres SA’s entrepreneurship booster programme – Business in a Box – is raising the bar in the taxi tyre fitment space through a unique partnership with the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association. It aims to provide taxi operators in the bustling business and residential hub of Ballito, located on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, with safe and reliable tyres, as well as efficient tyre services.

Simunye Tyres, launched in July at the Ballito taxi rank, is the culmination of a strategic alliance between Daisy Govender, owner of Tyre Track Ballito, and the local taxi association.

With funding provided by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), the new fitment centre adds to a growing list of successful small businesses that are tapping into Dunlop’s innovative plug-and-play business solution to serve local communities.

Unique partnership
Lubin Ozoux, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, manufacturer of the iconic Dunlop tyre range, said this was a unique partnership that was certain to raise the bar in the taxi tyre fitment industry.

“We are extremely proud of our Business in a Box solution. It is the improved version of our Dunlop Container project that has more than 80 outlets and around 400 people employed around the country. With the improved Business in a Box solution, we aim to establish 48 centres across SA by the end of 2024.

“The launch of Simunye Tyres in Ballito is one of our early success stories for Business in a Box, and testament to the commitment we have to see small businesses grow and play a part in the local economy. The centre provides a much-needed service for taxi owners and drivers, but more than that, will be contributing to a safer public transport system with our quality safety-tested tyres.”

Dunlop’s Business in a Box solution incorporates a partnership with SEFA to facilitate funding for successful applicants, creating a seamless process from application to installation.

Thinking out of the box
The inspiration for Simunye Tyres came from Govender who, after her husband’s sad passing, had taken over operations at his Tyre Track centre in Ballito. In February 2022, she left her well-established career in the real estate industry for unfamiliar terrain in tyre fitment.

“It was a new journey for me, and while it was a challenge getting to grips with the industry, I soon found a rhythm and looked toward setting a new challenge. I realised I had to think out of the box,” she recalled.

A mere two minutes away from her business premises was the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association rank, a hub of transport in the north coast of KZN.

“I had learnt about the Business in a Box opportunities from trade shows that I attended, and realised this provided a business opportunity in our area. At present, the local taxi association, which comprises around 270 taxis, is forced to drive to Stanger and Tongaat for any tyre-related issue. This long drive negatively impacts on business, as it means downtime from ferrying paying passengers to their destinations, as well as extra petrol costs to drive further from their area of operation. Installing a Business in a Box at the taxi rank would mean shorter downtime and less fuel costs,” said Govender.

Talks then opened with the taxi association.

“Dunlop was very supportive throughout the process of the BiB application. They efficiently handled the paperwork that needed to be completed, and supported us throughout the loan application process,” said Govender.

Simunye Tyres will offer tyre fitment, tyre repairs, wheel balancing, wheel rotation and expert advice.

Simunye Tyres will also incorporate another local business, AutoZone, to support with additional motor accessories sales such as wiper blades, brake pads and discs, and batteries.

Nhlanhla Lephalo, chairperson of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association, said he was very excited at the partnership resulting in Simunye Tyres. “We are very happy with the opening of Simunye Tyres. Before this container shop, we had to drive far outside of Ballito, to places like Tongaat, to get tyres repaired or fitted. Now we save time and money, and our passengers can see for themselves that the taxis are fitting the best tyres.”

Community impact
The new tyre fitment centre has positively impacted on employment. Govender said two new staff members have been hired and trained by her Tyre Track team in tyre diagnostics and fitment.

Hennel Nkonjela, key accounts manager: Enterprise Development at Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, said: “Simunye Tyres is a great example of what the Business in a Box programme does, and that is providing a localised business solution that empowers businesspeople. Importantly, it’s a business that is strongly rooted in the community. We have no doubt it will be a successful operation providing quality, safe and locally manufactured tyres to the taxi industry, backed by our complimentary, value-added offering of Dunlop Sure tyre insurance and warranties. I am also certain it will be reassuring for taxi passengers to also see firsthand that the vehicles they are travelling in are using quality, locally manufactured wheels and parts.”

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