Pernod Ricard partners with Furntech and the GDED to grow entrepreneurs in South Africa
The partnership will allow entrepreneurs to access SETA-accredited learnerships, skills programmes, and short courses in cabinet making, wood finishing, wood machining, and upholstery

Johannesburg, South Africa: Pernod Ricard, one of the world’s largest wine and spirits sellers, has partnered with the Furniture Technology Centre Trust (Furntech) and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) to develop its Thokoza-based Incubation Centre for woodwork and furniture manufacturing entrepreneurs in the area. The centre will allow these entrepreneurs to share this space, access a range of machinery, and create workshop co-ops for large scale business opportunities.

Pernod Ricard says the centre is a continuation of its successful 2021 Phakamisa ispirit campaign. The company invested R38 million into the campaign to provide South Africans with bespoke locally-made gifts inspired by some of the country’s most talented makers when they bought participating Pernod Ricard brands.

Pernod Ricard says it obtained a portion of the funding to begin developing the facility from last year’s initiative, which continues to help uplift local communities like Thokoza.

The Thokoza facility has already received over 80 applications from entrepreneurs in the community who attended a workshop on woodworking and furniture manufacturing held by Pernod Ricard and Furntech earlier in May.

“We realise that small businesses form the backbone of our economy. However, cash flow and a skills shortage are still significant barriers for countless entrepreneurs in communities such as Thokoza,” says Gregory Leymarie, CEO of Pernod Ricard South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa. “That’s why we are thrilled to tap into Furntech’s proven expertise in economic transformation, wealth creation, and skills development. Together, we can help entrepreneurs in this community navigate the often challenging small business landscape and unlock the large scale opportunities they have been unable to access for so long.”

Furntech has experience facilitating similar programmes throughout South Africa that have helped over 4,400 entrepreneurs start and develop their ideas into viable and sustainable businesses. The programmes have also helped create over 1,000 direct jobs and trained over 7,000 learners. According to Pernod Ricard, Furntech’s SETA-accredited Business Technology Incubation (BTI) programme will also help entrepreneurs conceptualise, innovate, and develop their ideas into sustainable businesses through a range of award-winning courses.

Through this partnership, the Thokoza Centre will help entrepreneurs: • Create an enabling environment to become sustainable businesses • Develop business and production skills through vocational skills development initiatives • Operate and manage an effective and efficient administration system • Facilitate the creation of wealth and jobs in the community • Facilitate access to professional services, including business planning, funding, and access to markets

“Business incubation is recognised internationally as the key driver of economic transformation. So we’re confident that by partnering with Pernod Ricard to develop the Thokoza centre, we can make a real impact in this community,” says Michael Reddy – CEO at Furntech. “Our innovative range of programmes for individuals, start-ups, and existing businesses in the furniture and wood products sector will help entrepreneurs in Thokoza contribute to economic, gender, and race transformation in South Africa.”

Among the small business owners in attendance was Emily Masibo, founder of Sister Boss, whose business resells furniture procured through manufacturers. She struggles with the high cost of her current business model and is enthusiastic to hear how this programme will help her.

“I was so excited to hear about the woodwork and furniture centre that Pernod Ricard and Furntech will establish in Thokoza. It will create an opportunity for us as a company to gain the skills we need to grow and make our own furniture, which will help us maximise profits,” says Masibo.

Masibo has been running her business since 2020 and hopes the centre will connect her to large organisations that can open up new revenue streams and allow her to tap into entirely new markets. “I think the centre will be extremely beneficial to the small businesses in this township by opening up opportunities that we didn’t know were available. I also love how the programme focuses on empowering more females like myself, especially considering that women don’t see woodwork as an industry they can succeed in,” she adds.

Pernod Ricard says its Phakamisa ispirit campaign was the first step in establishing a sustainable environment for entrepreneurs in South Africa. The company says it plans to create five small business incubators across Gauteng in the next five years.


About Pernod Ricard:

Pernod Ricard South Africa is part of the Pernod Ricard group, the No.2 worldwide producer of wines and spirits with consolidated sales of €8,824 million in FY21. Headquartered in France, we are a truly international group. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has developed through organic growth and acquisitions. We provide brands of origin such as Jameson Irish whiskey, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin, Inverroche gin, Martell cognac, Red Heart rum and G.H. Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes. Owning 16 of the Top 100 Spirits Brands, we hold one of the most prestigious and comprehensive brand portfolios in the industry. Our brands are distributed across 160+ markets and by our own salesforce in 73 markets. Our Group’s decentralised organisation empowers our 19,000 employees to be true, on-the-ground ambassadors of our vision of “Créateurs de Convivialité.”

In South Africa, Pernod Ricard has been building brands and creating conviviality for the past 27 years. After Nelson Mandela’s release and the subsequent birth of South Africa’s democracy, the lifting of international trade sanctions paved the way for renewed investment opportunities into the country and on the 8th of July 1994, Pernod Ricard South Africa was established. Over the past eleven years we also established affiliates in Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Mozambique. The relocation of our head offices from Cape Town to Johannesburg united Pernod Ricard South Africa with Pernod Ricard Sub-Saharan Africa to establish the Pernod Ricard Sub-Saharan Africa Management Entity. We employ just under 500 people across Africa, with around 300 employees based in South Africa.

At Pernod Ricard our intent is to ‘Bring Good Times from a Good Place’ – to create a more convivial world, a world without excess. We have always been committed to fighting the harmful abuse of alcohol and we acknowledge that it is our responsibility to play an active part in preventing it and to each individually act as responsible brand ambassadors. As passionate hosts we bring people together to connect, share and celebrate in the spirit of conviviality. As respectful guests we strive to protect the environments in which we live, to the benefits of our consumers, our business and our planet. As reaffirmed by the Group’s strategic plan, “Transform and Accelerate” deployed in 2018, Pernod Ricard’s strategy focuses on investing in long-term, profitable growth for all stakeholders. We remain true to our three founding values: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual Trust, and a strong sense of ethics