People love makeovers. It’s a known fact. For some reason we are always astonished by the miraculous transformation of a person or place by expert hands from the unimpressive ‘before’ to the new and improved ‘after’ and the lives that are changed as a result. Seeing what places and people could become, not just what they are at face value, is what our featured business of the week, TUHF, is all about.
TUHF’s journey starts long before their commercial company was founded in 2003. In fact, TUHF describes, ‘in the early 90s, at the peak of the capital exodus out of Johannesburg’s city centre, the scene of rapid racial transition and the centre of many of the civil disobedience campaigns of the time, many buildings were left in squalor, overcrowded, with no water or electricity, inviting in crime and grime. At the same time people were flocking to the cities for work and other opportunities. During this time, our founding members and directors saw the potential in the infrastructure of previously popular areas such as Hillbrow and Yeoville. Starting with just R10 million, they set out to finance entrepreneurs to convert these buildings to safe and secure rental accommodation.’
So what does TUHF do? Well, they provide access to ﬁnance for entrepreneurs, from all walks of life, to purchase, and subsequently convert or refurbish buildings in the inner cities of South Africa to affordable residential units available for rental. They are all about ‘spotting and unearthing potential’. Where there is decline, they see potentially thriving markets. In run-down buildings, they see the potential for families to live and thrive in a safe environment. And in people they see an entrepreneurial spirit and capacity to build well-run businesses providing employment and fuelling our economy.
TUHF describes themselves as a ‘character based lending organisation’ which means that they look at the kind of person the lender is before considering the project. To them a ‘good inner city property entrepreneurs live or work in the city, have an intimate knowledge of the property market they wish to invest in and are hardworking and down to earth’.
TUHF’s vision has multiplied over the past 13 years into five branches across South Africa, employing 56 full time employees and 8 interns. They have also invested a total of over R4 billion in the inner cities of South Africa.
When asked why they believe people should support small business, TUHF answered, ‘Our business is built on financing small businesses. We back ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Our clients make up ordinary men and women with a passion for property and are willing to put in the hard work that a property business requires. Through their passion and commitment they are providing decent and affordable rental accommodation to thousands of families in the inner city, catalysing urban regeneration, stimulating job creation and encouraging local economic development.’
Small Business Friday is brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) and Nedbank (Title Sponsor) and encourages all South Africans to interact and support small business everyday; especially every Friday and even more so on Small Business Friday, the first Friday of Spring every year. This grows local communities, drives job creation and ultimately builds the nation. With your support small business will be able to employ more, therefore reducing rates of unemployment and harvesting the entrepreneurial spirit.