De Beers development project aims to facilitate the growth and transformation of diamond beneficiation in South Africa.
A KIMBERLEY-based diamond polishing and jewellery manufacturing company is one of five that has been selected by De Beers to participate in the company’s Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators.
Outclass Crystalized Gems in Kimberley is owned by Desmond Ratsoma and Robin Bhebhe.
De Beers spokesperson Jackie Mapiloko explained on Wednesday that the Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators, launched in 2016, aimed to facilitate the growth and transformation of diamond beneficiation in South Africa.
“This is a holistic approach that seeks to optimise interventions in all aspects of the diamond pipeline from rough diamond purchasing, state-of-the-art manufacturing of diamonds and jewellery to marketing and distribution.”
The five companies, which specialise in cutting and polishing of diamonds, precious metals refining and jewellery making, are: B&H Mining, Irresistible Rough Diamonds, Isabella Jewellers, Outclass Crystalized Gems and Sunrise Gem Stone.
Mapiloko pointed out that the five were selected from a pool of companies that were identified by stakeholders from across the industry.
“Of these companies, four have beneficiation licences; one has a jewellers’ permit and precious metals refining licence; two are 100% black female owned; with overall three female owned, and one is based in Kimberley.”
Speaking at the launch of the programme at Raizcorp on Tuesday, Peter Phemelo Moeti, senior vice president of De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa, said it was pleasing that there were so many women in the project this year.
“This is aligned to the commitments we have made, including to the UN Women, to support female participation in our industry. Our aim is to assist with the growth and transformation of the diamond industry in South Africa.
“We are also extending our contribution to include jewellery manufacturers, thus demonstrating our support for beneficiation throughout the value chain.
“For us, it’s also about making sure that the companies we’ve appointed succeed in primarily having the competitive and very important entrepreneurial skills and those skills are provided by Raizcorp.”
Allon Raiz, CEO of Raizcorp, added that De Beers had been unique in its approach to enterprise development.
“They are so involved, a hands-on approach that allows us to give the best possible entrepreneurial development. If you look at the last cohort, those are big shoes to fill. If you look at the journey of entrepreneurs is that they go down and then they go up. The reason for that is we are remodelling your mindset, your language, your thought pattern and we are remodelling you like you are remodelling the diamond. There is a huge amount of investment from De Beers Group and Raizcorp in shaping you to become role-models.”
Claudia Bompani, a 27-year-old woman from Gauteng and owner of Irresistible Rough Diamonds, said she hoped the programme would provide her with entrepreneurial support, and that in the end she would have a sound business and a good strategy in place.
“I hope by the time I come out of this, I have diversified my business into different target markets,” she said.
Nomalungelo Stofile, director of the 100% black female owned Sunrise Gems said: “To be able to be part of the programme and for De Beers Group to have picked me is unbelievable. I hope to harness my business skills through Raizcorp. I’m still processing being selected for the programme”.
Last year five diamond cutting and polishing companies graduated from the project. Each participating company received an allocation of rough diamonds from De Beers Group, in line with their market requirements and capacity. In addition, the project facilitated local and international market access and sponsored their participation at international trade shows, including the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair and JCK Las Vegas.
Kealeboga Pule, an alumnus of the programme and owner of Nungu Diamonds, said the programme helped him become a better businessman.
“Raizcorp is a safe space for development, and I am better at what I do because of their support and mentorship. It was a humbling experience, and today I am a better businessman because of it. As an alumnus of the programme, I pledge to be available to the new cohorts whenever they need.”