'BEE is not just about handouts'

BLACK economic empowerment is not all about glitz and glamour - hard work is also part of the deal.

BLACK economic empowerment is not all about glitz and glamour - hard work is also part of the deal.

Sandile Sikhosana is the managing director of Ayobayo Foods, which was funded by the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), enabling him to open the franchise in Tembisa last year.

Ayobayo Foods is a subsidiary of the Dulcé Cafe group, which specialises in coffee shops. Ayobayo specialises in traditional cuisine.

"A big challenge we encountered was ensuring that customers could trust the new Ayobayo brand," said the 38-year-old Sikhosana.

While trying to earn customers' trust on the one hand, Sikhosana and his team had to respond on their employees' commitment to increase profits to enable them to pay off the NEF loan.

And with mentorship programmes from the NEF, Sikhosana was able to weather the recession storm.

"BEE has changed the way businesses access finance. It has helped people like me who have ambition, passion and a dream," he said.

"People's misconception about BEE is that government is ready to dish money to any business without a sound business idea and become instant millionaires."

"You have to work hard, have a good business plan to deliver and you have to work to repay the funder of the deal. BEE is not just about showing off with fancy cars and clothes."

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