Director of niche manufacturing SME Power Plastics, Caryn Formby has recently been recognised at this year’s prestigious IWEC (the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge) award ceremony in Stockholm.

This places the international spotlight on female entrepreneurship and the wide scope of business opportunities for women in Africa.

An initiative run by individual Chambers of Commerce in various countries, IWEC honours women who run successful businesses and contribute to the global economy through entrepreneurship.

As an Awardee, Caryn was recognised for her proven business skills.

Power Plastics has undergone a broad transformation over the last 10 years, from a small struggling business to a widely respected SME that understands its customers.

This has largely been due to its scope of design and engineering skills and manufacturing capabilities that have set a new benchmark in quality.

Importantly, Power Plastics has been able to confidently secure the niche market opportunities for unique covers and liners.

In the industrial B2B sector Power Plastics produces covers and liners for a number of sectors including mining, agriculture and bulk logistics.

Products include thermal pallet jackets for the cold chain, container liners, branded pallet covers and dam and reservoir kits.

For the consumer sector, PowerPlastics Pool Covers has developed an innovative range of pool covers and accessories, including the best-selling PowerPlastics Solid Safety Cover to prevent child drownings, and thermal covers to shrink the pool’s carbon footprint.

Passionate about child safety around pools, Caryn is the driving force behind TopStep, the home of pool safety – an educational brand-neutral public platform for all things relating to child drowning prevention.

"The manufacturing sector is a good creator of employment. Those coming into entry level manufacturing jobs are not expected to have degrees or other tertiary education.

Just a clear grasp of maths and good literacy can take them far in this industry. They will learn skills on the job, have a career that is interesting and varied, and quickly realise that teamwork is key.

Nelson Mandela’s iconic phrase, "each one, teach one" has been the basis for the principles used at Power Plastics. We all learn from each other in a holistic environment.

"We have created 'micro business divisions' with their own division heads, each responsible for the management of their unit.

This has created an environment that effectively gives employees a taste of what it is to run a business without carrying the direct risk. You don’t have to own a business to be an entrepreneur. 

There is huge scope for entrepreneurial spirit within job positions and – done right – it can have a profound impact on the overall business," says Caryn.

Caryn believes that service delivery is still one area where South Africa dances to the beat of its own drum.

"If you have never received good service, how can you give good service? It is a chain reaction and self-perpetuating cycle. As such, we really focus on our customers. Business owners also need to look after their employees so they can in turn look after other stakeholders.

"The starting point for entrepreneurship is for aspiring entrepreneurs to adopt a 'can do' attitude within existing companies. There are so many of us with opportunities within our current jobs.

The key is to really get good at the business of business before venturing out on one’s own. By thoroughly developing skills and capabilities we not only enhance individual lives but also the communities around us.

The Chambers of Commerce in various areas are there to encourage, support and assist all entrepreneurial activities. These organisations hold huge value and give access to great resources. Everyone in business should be engaged with such an organisation," says Caryn.

Caryn has over 30 years' industry experience and a career background in management consulting, new product development and management turnarounds.

She was 25 when, MBA in hand, she went into corporate management consulting. 15 years later, Caryn was ready for a change.

"After years in the corporate world, I was up for a challenge and wanted to apply my talents to manufacturing. I like creating beautiful products through technology and people," concludes Caryn.

Power Plastics, is a member of the Cape Chamber of Commerce in Cape Town and the National Swimming Pool Institute. Her industrial division has received awards for service excellence.  

Caryn Formby with the South African ambassador, Mandisa Marasha

To learn more about Power Plastics, visit Power Plastics website and Power Plastics industrial.

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