Award for local brand

2015-06-10 11:31
Zameer and Fatima Mohammed hold the Africa Growth Institute’s runner-up award for the SMME Industrial Sector Award. Mohammed started out as a street vendor and now runs a highly successful business, Zam Brands, with his family.

Zameer and Fatima Mohammed hold the Africa Growth Institute’s runner-up award for the SMME Industrial Sector Award. Mohammed started out as a street vendor and now runs a highly successful business, Zam Brands, with his family. (Jonathan Burton)

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FROM a street vendor with 10 containers of spice to a nationally acclaimed businessman, Zam Brands owner ­Zameer Mohammed has scooped the runner-up prize for the national Industrial Sector Award.
Hosted in Cape Town on Thursday last week, the African Growth Institute held an extravagant award ceremony for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) for which Mohammed claimed second place for the national Industrial Sector Award.
“I am very honoured to receive this award against well established competitors with proper infrastructure,” Mohammed said.
After he was retrenched, Mohammed started his business with five containers of coriander and five containers of cumin powder, selling his product in parking lots in and around Raisethorpe and Northdale, particularly at the Debi Place supermarket on the weekends.
During the week, he would sell fruit and vegetables on the street corners, making a few rands each day.
After years of excruciating labour, Mohammed caught a break when the owner of the supermarket asked to stock his product on their shelves after customers demanded his spices during the week.
Seven years to that day, Mohammed now sells his spices, soups, patented instant milkshakes and teas to more than 35 retailers, including Spar and Pick n Pay, in Pietermaritzburg, Greytown and Durban.
Mohammed recalled going to the bank in 2008 to apply for a business account and the assistant laughed when he deposited his last R1 000 into the account, saying that he was wasting his time.
Now, that same bank account deals with a turnover of more than R2,5 million per annum.
“I never thought I would achieve this. My motivation was to take care of my family and we have all worked as a team ever since,” Mohammed said.
Working out of their modest home in Northdale, Mohammed and his wife, Fatima — a former physical science teacher — now employ seven people and have roped their sons Muzzammil (17) and Mudhassir (16) into the family business.
“Hard work is the best dividend for your business. Always be passionate and have faith in what you do,” Mohammed said. “You can start your business from buying nuts, boiling them and packaging them. Start small and grow.”
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  smme

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