Siqalo Foods Celebrates Hospitality Entrepreneurs With “Share” Networking Event

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Siqalo Foods, manufacturer of popular spreads such as Rama and Flora in South Africa, hosted beneficiaries of its Sekela Hospitality Support Programme (Sekela HSP) on Monday 3rd June 2024, at a special, “Share” networking event. Held at the company's office in Westville, recipients were invited to meet with the team from Siqalo Foods that has assisted small entrepreneurs from the hospitality industry with this impactful programme and to engage, connect and share learnings with their peers.


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Ross Plumbley, Siqalo Foods Operating Unit Director, likened the gathering to an overdue family reunion, saying: "It brings us immense joy to finally gather all the Sekela Hospitality beneficiaries under one roof and we are truly honoured to host this remarkable group of entrepreneurs who have set aside valuable time from their businesses to join us today. This event presents a wonderful opportunity for them to forge new connections and reconnect with familiar faces within our extended Sekela family."

The Sekela HSP is a purpose-driven initiative by Siqalo Foods to bolster small businesses within the South African hospitality sector. Its multifaceted approach aims to provide meaningful, holistic, ongoing support to qualifying independent hospitality establishments. From financial stimulus to targeted business coaching, the programme ensures that participants receive the necessary tools for sustainable growth.

According to Plumbley, the programme has invested over R6.5 million to support 143 establishments, including restaurants, bakeries, catering companies and accommodation providers, since its inception three years ago. “The programme proved vital in aiding beneficiaries to recover from the immense challenges faced by the hospitality industry due to the COVID-19 lockdowns,” he explains, “and its aim is to build resilience in the hospitality sector while raising awareness of Siqalo Foods' Meadowland and Marvello brands.

The highlight of the "Share" event featured an informative Advanced Pastry Dish demonstration led by Executive Chef Brad Kavanaugh of Siqalo Foods. This was complemented by a social media course for "foodies" presented by The Digital Media Company, (TDMC) to enhance the attendees’ skills for promoting their businesses online.  Of course, no event is complete without refreshments and guests were treated to a superb luncheon, prepared on behalf of the hosts by South African Masterchef finalist, Joani Mitchell.  

Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive, praising the valuable insights and networking opportunities provided by Siqalo Foods and expressing their gratitude for an amazing day. Amohela Mokoena from The Basil Taste had this to say about her peers and the event:

…I’ve learned so much from everyone today and I’m grateful for all the information, tips and resources that were shared. A special thanks to Sekela for organising this amazing event. Thank you for supporting businesses and investing in our development.

Lihle Malitjane from My Sweet Potato was just as enthusiastic in her praise: “…absolutely incredible day. To simply say, “Thank you” doesn’t seem enough but truly, we are grateful for everyone who made Sekela possible.”  

Siqalo Foods strives to strengthen community resilience through collaboration and support," says Plumbley, “and the “Share" event epitomises this ethos, bringing together a dynamic group of small business owners who embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and are laying the groundwork for a thriving future in South Africa's hospitality industry.

In reaffirming its dedication to building a more robust and inclusive hospitality sector, the company continues to invest in small businesses, ensuring long-term success and sustainability for all its participants.

Plumbley explains that to qualify for the Sekela Hospitality Support Programme, entrepreneurs must operate a qualifying hospitality business, have a monthly food spend of at least R10,000, maintain majority black ownership, and have an annual turnover below R10 million.

“Through initiatives like the Sekela Hospitality Support Programme and events like "Share", Siqalo Foods continues to maintain its dedication to investing in the success of local businesses and promoting sustainable development within South Africa's hospitality sector,” he concludes.

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