Entrepreneurship month is almost over, but before we conclude this month’s innovative stories, we take a look at a Tyre by-product produced by two young men. Waste tyres are a huge environmental challenge in South Africa,thus in an effort to decrease the impact of waste tyres on the environment, Mzokhona Maxase, Logistics BTech Graduate and his business partner, Tshepo Sithole, who is doing his last year of a Diploma in Sports Management created a shine and shoe polish made with char. Cubic38 houses the shoe polish and was established in April 2017 at Tshwane University student residence.
Experts say that the biggest problem with discarding old tires is that they contain chemicals and heavy metals that leach into the environment as the tires break down. Some of these chemicals, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, cause cancer and gene mutations. After visiting a local waste tyre recycling plant in Pretoria West, they realized that the plant was faced with huge backlogs of waste tyre char which had no economic value, so as students the gentlemen set out to find ways to use this by-product as there was no known demand for it.
“We developed multiple ideas and prototypes and after product testing and consumer feedback, we made a decision to produce tyre shine and shoe polish made from waste tyre char. We had to learn and teach ourselves about the waste tyre industry as we did not have any experience or background in the industry” says Maxase. They have received positive feedback from consumers about the shoe polish and have seen an improvement in sales.
They credited the Red Bull Amaphiko programme for helping them to take the community brand to a national level and audience. The programme also connected them to mentors and experts that helped them to set up structures to formalize and grow the business. Red Bull Amaphiko elevates various entrepreneurs from all over the country. Cubic 38 short term plan is to have a positive impact nationally within the waste tyre environment and to establish a full-time production facility with employees who understand customer service to meet demands.