The power of small enterprises to improve the lives of families and communities was demonstrated when 27 small business owners from low-income areas of greater Cape Town graduated from the sponsored Small Business Academy (SBA) programme of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) yesterday [ 4 December 2018].
At the ceremony the Top 3 small businesses were awarded.
Lisa Ndyalivani, 33, owner of WooWfoods, a mobile coffee shop taking hot coffee and healthy food to commuters, students and workers in Bellville, was named the Distell Top Student with the highest mark overall after completing the sponsored nine-month development programme aimed at empowering small business owners in disadvantaged areas to grow their businesses.
Proving that age is no barrier to starting up a business, Jacqueline Julie of Mitchells Plain celebrated her 50th birthday along with winning the ABSA Best Business Plan award for her Xcelent Crunchies & Homebakes which has turned a part-time home-baking setup into a growing formal business that supports her family of eight.
Social entrepreneur Vincent Zokufa, 37, owner of ConnectUs ICT in Eerste River, was recognised for his innovative business model providing training and support to disadvantaged schools to use their IT resources more effectively, with the De Beers Business with Most Potential award.
SBA head Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener said the three winners had in common a drive to succeed and had demonstrated the ability to innovate and adapt their businesses to changing circumstances – “an essential trait of entrepreneurs”, she said.
“What is especially exciting is to see that they, and other participants on the programme, are not just thinking about how to grow their own businesses but also how to share what they have learnt and create opportunities for others to get into business too. This is how small business becomes the economic engine that it should be,” Dr Theron-Wepener said.
When Lisa Ndyalivani realised two years ago that tourism was “too seasonal for sustainable income”, she tapped into the food truck trend and converted her tourist bus into a mobile kitchen that starts the day at 6am serving commuters at the Bellville taxi rank and then moving on to the University of the Western Cape (UWC) campus from mid-morning to late afternoon.
“When schools are closed and business is quiet, we move around industrial areas like Parow. Being mobile means we can go to wherever our customers are to be found.
“What sets us apart is a focus on healthy food, because street food can be very fatty and rely on processed foods. We practice healthy cooking – grilling our burgers instead of frying, using fresh salad ingredients in our brown bread sandwiches – and try to educate our customers,” she said.