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Covid-19: Daveyton youngsters who started businesses in lockdown

The City Times spoke to youngsters from Daveyton about their journey of starting a business amid Covid-19.

The pandemic has hit local businesses hard, with many having to close their doors and retrench staff.

Despite this downturn, some young people have decided to take the brave step of starting businesses.

The City Times spoke to youngsters from Daveyton about their journey of starting a business amid Covid-19.

Siblings Simphiwe and Thuli Ngwenya started a fast food outlet due to the uncertainty of whether they will still have jobs, with so many companies closing down.

Mangwaneni Food offers a variety of fast foods, such as burgers, fish, ribs and chips.

The business opened late last year and had to close for a few months as the siblings reworked their strategy. It was reopened in February.

Simphiwe said it was challenging at first because they didn’t know how to price their food.

“In my area most people sell kota (bunny chow), so we felt we needed to think outside the box and bring something different. What sets us apart is our family secret sauce,” he said.

The business now employs two people, who can now put food on the table for their families.

The 29-year-old said he has learnt it is difficult to fund your own business; you need to have a proper budget plan, focus and not give up easily.

“We need more young people to open businesses, especially in the townships, to curb unemployment. You first need to research what is needed in your community,” he said.

Daveyton resident Simphiwe Ngwenya started a fast food outlet to sustain his family while creating employment for others.

“If it wasn’t for the lockdown, I’m not sure if I would have started a business, but I think it pushed me to be creative about the future.”

Simphiwe added that they are planning to expand the business so they can employ more people.

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Kabelo Motaung and his friend, Mfanafuthu Tshwangana, had to shut down their business after six months due to lack of profit.

They opened their food outlet, Bizzarre Foods, in June.

The 25-year-old said he was the happiest within that period of six months because he was in the kitchen doing what he loves.

“Starting a business is not easy, especially without proper research, finances and a good marketing strategy,” said Kabelo.

“I think it is important to have a business mentor so you can learn from their previous mistakes and successes. They can also help you grow and develop your business.”

The human resources student explained that at first the business was well received by the community but profit took a knock as more people lost their jobs due to an extended lockdown.

“People were no longer buying every day but only month end,” said Kabelo.

“What I have learnt is you need to be persistent and patient when you want to be an entrepreneur. You need to know what you’re getting into, read books and get a mentor.”

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