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Entrepreneur taps into juice market

By Sibongile Mashaba | 2017-06-14 07:09:02.0

Sammy Mhaule stands in front of his stock of sparkling fruit juice at the Sky Drink Offices in Ekuruleni. Sammy is the founder of Skyrule fruit jiuce which was discovered in 2014. The drink has been seen in various stalls and hoping to hit the big market this year. 29 May 2017, Johanessburg, PICTURE: KABELO MOKOENA

Sammy Mhaule quit working at one of the biggest German car-manufacturing companies to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

He started by getting a qualification in marketing and business, but things did not work out as he had initially hoped. Mhaule sold chickens but there was a lot of competition and he had to look for another job.

"I have always been an entrepreneur. When I was 14, I sold ice cream just to survive. I learnt not to depend on my parents," Mhaule said.

He said that like many South Africans he was faced with many challenges, including poverty.

Now the 37-year-old from Tembisa in Ekurhuleni owns SkyRule Drinks, which makes sparkling juice Twyst. The company seeks to break new ground in the industry.

"I worked in the UK and saw a gap in the South African juice-manufacturing market. I realised there was no 100% sparkling juice and when I returned home, I worked on a plan to manufacture juice," says Mhaule.

"In 2014 SkyRule Drinks was established to create a delicious sparkling juice which provides an alternative to mainstream flavours like red grape and apple. I nurtured SkyRule Drinks for at least 18 months before introducing it to the market," he told Sowetan.

He says Twyst is available in two flavours: "apple with a 'twyst' of peach and red grape with a 'twyst' of blueberry".

"It has not been an easy journey. My passion to create a new thing is what drove me. The biggest challenge was being rejected. It really felt like a steep hill," Mhaule said.

The company's pay-off line is, "juice with a twyst of attitude".

"We are looking to introducing new flavours into the market," he says.

Mhaule says the company is currently using a third party to manufacture the juice. "My plan for the next three to five years is to open my own factory and manufacture the juice there. This will help us create more job opportunities for young people," he says.

"I currently employ four people permanently and we have at least 15 students who do promotions on a part-time basis for us. I am looking at employing 20 more people across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape," he says.

Mhaule said the company was supplying the hospitality industry and retailers.

"My goal is to focus on growing the brand. Very few people know about it," Mhaule said.