Kasi Business | Bakery owner is now rolling in dough
Baking and selling bread is a lucrative business in the townships and that's exactly why Refiloe Rantekoa regards his enterprise as his "gold mine".
Founded three years ago, Borotho Bakery Enterprise is in White City, Jabavu, Soweto, run by Rantekoa and his two business colleagues. Rantimane Francis and Mthokozisi Ndlovu are trained bakers who work the day and night shifts respectively.
"The idea of starting a bakery first hit me in 2015 but it was only in 2016 that we started operating after I resigned from my previous job at a travel agency," said Rantekoa, who is qualified in marketing.
The 27-year-old said he invested all his savings of close to R50000 in the business and bought two baking ovens to operate from the back rooms of his grandad's place.
"I conceptualised the business after realising that the price of bread was skyrocketing and the local community was struggling to cope with high food prices, especially bread, which is our staple food."
He concedes that competition is tough as many others are selling bread. His speciality is white bread, although he also bakes brown bread. Customers include grocery shops, spaza shops and kota (bunny chow) sellers. On his busiest days, he churns out between 500 and 1000 loaves.
The young entrepreneur used to sell fat cakes baked by his granny before going to school, to put bread on the table.
"That gave me confidence to sell any merchandise, even if someone is not interested. At school I used to sell sweets and crispy chips. That's when I got a sense of being responsible, money wise."
Rantekoa aims to grow the business by acquiring bigger premises, two more ovens and a bakkie to facilitate quick delivery.
"It's how I treat customers, the service, the pricing and the quality of the bread that gives me the edge. I started selling a loaf for R5 two years ago. Today, it is still affordable at R8 a loaf. I'm passionate about the business. I regard it as my gold mine. I'm a natural seller. I can, without doubt, say I have staved off competition in my area as I'm not shy to shout out loud to grab the customer's attention."
The business also provides part-time jobs to five local youngsters who do deliveries after school and on weekends.
Borotho Bakery won gold in the inclusive economy category of the Gauteng Premier's Service Excellence Awards in February. It has been nominated for the 2018 Township Entrepreneur Awards in the start-up category. The awards for Gauteng will be held next month.