Somerset West NGO Awarded R300k Grant

Somerset West NGO awarded a R300,000 grant

TRADE-MARK, a Helderberg non-profit organisation, has been awarded a R300,000 grant from DG Murray Trust. This is a major coup for the organisation which will enable them to make deeper inroads in their quest to helping township tradesmen break through the barriers to success and financial independence.

As an NGO, TRADE-MARK is very unique in that it offers ordinary residents living in the Helderberg Basin the opportunity to partner with them in assisting the neighbouring township communities, whilst also benefiting themselves. TRADE-MARK has gone to great lengths to hand-pick the most skilled and most reliable tradesmen (painters, pavers, tilers and carpenters) from the townships who are then marketed to the public via their website

TRADE-MARK aims to assist tradesmen in a dignified manner, empowering them to become successful through their own hard work and dedication rather than providing hand-outs. The business generated by TRADE-MARK in the last 6 months of 2012 enabled some of the tradesmen to buy their first car, get married, begin building new homes for distant relatives and bring their children down from Zimbabwe to see them for the first time in 5 years.

Beyond helping secure additional business for tradesmen from the townships, TRADE-MARK plans to offer training on business management to all tradesmen, in collaboration with other NGOs such as The Business Place. A peer-to-peer learning platform has already been established.

“TRADE-MARK is able to answer the two most important questions that people wanting to do renovations have: Where do we find good people and how do we know we can really trust them?” says TRADE-MARK Founding Director Josh Cox.

“We expect a very high level of service from all our tradesmen and hold them accountable through our client feedback system, which also enables them to continually improve on the service they provide.”

The current average client rating is just below 9 out of 10.

“The high degree of accountability, together with additional support for training and marketing, will help professionalise the informal sector, levelling the playing field and creating a new business environment in which entrepreneurs from poorer communities are able to compete with those operating in the so-called formal sector.”

TRADE-MARK’s success is that it provides home-owners with a very attractive option to employ the services of their tradesmen, bringing badly needed revenue into the township communities.


Established in 2010, TRADE-MARK is a registered non-profit trust with the purpose of assisting tradesmen from the Helderberg townships in building successful businesses. Using a thorough selection process we hand pick skilled, reliable painters, pavers, carpenters and tilers from the townships and other low-income communities. We connect them with clients in the wealthier suburbs requiring these services.

Our primary aim is to create new opportunities for our tradesmen by adding credibility to their business, through our selection process, and securing resources to market their services collectively. We also provide a high degree of accountability through our client feedback and monitoring system. This incentivises the tradesmen to deliver the highest quality service and enables us to share constructive feedback with our tradesmen after every job. Additionally we aim to connect our tradesmen with business skills training opportunities, empowering them to run their businesses more efficiently.

To become sustainable and avoid disempowering the tradesmen by giving them a hand-out we charge them 10% of the job value for every job we secure for them. This also incentivises them to continue their own efforts to secure clients rather than becoming dependent on TRADE-MARK for business. Our vision of success is that all our tradesmen will, in their own time, reach the point where they no longer require any support from TRADE-MARK whatsoever.

About DG Murray Trust (DGMT):

The DG Murray Trust (DGMT) is an independent private charitable trust, established by the late Douglas George Murray and was initially capitalised from his personal financial resources. A small full-time staff, under the direction of a Board of Trustees, manages the Trust. The DGMT currently directs its annual donations towards the fields of Education and Welfare. Amongst other things, the DGMT enables schools in rural and urban areas as well as informal settlements to use information technology.

For more information please contact:

Nicci Cloete Annette: Marketing and Operations Manager, TRADE-MARK

078 563 8152

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