Some small businesses have adapted their operations during the lockdown to keep people employed and the economy going. One young female entrepreneur in Saldanha Bay, on the Cape West Coast, has done just that. She’s expanded her small clothing business.

Saldanha Bay is known for its harbour activities, aquaculture and tourism industry. But a small company, founded in 2015, saw the opportunity for manufacturing clothes and has grown from strength to strength.

When the lockdown started, they shifted their business to the manufacture of between 1500 to 2000 washable and eco-friendly masks a day.

Staff had to be retrained and operations restructured.

Saldanha Clothing owner Megan Newman says her business employs 28 workers.

“Saldanha Clothing itself employs 28 dedicated all from the Saldanha Bay area. We have various clients and our masks have gone to various pharmacies around the country. We are busy with isolation gowns at the moment also for clients. We have been exporting to countries up Africa such as Malawi.”

They are hoping to increase these units when more orders are received, so they can bring back even more of their staff.

Unemployment is very high in the area and even more so during the lockdown. Mechanist at the shop Cerise Karelse says she has to provide for two households.

“At the moment, I have to provide for two households knowing there is no other income. So, for the people that are staying at home at this moment, they are not earning anything. So, we’re still working, it’s a huge income and it helps us a lot.”

Many businesses in the area are not that privileged and will have to wait for restrictions to be lifted through innovation, perseverance and adaptability, small businesses like Saldanha Clothing are not only surviving the lockdown, but prospering in the process.

In the video below, Saldanha Bay female entrepreneur expands her clothing business to adding the manufacturing of masks: