Granny’s jam takes young entrepreneur to Russia

2014-08-05 17:03

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When Limpopo pupils were asked to think of a sustainable business idea for the youth entrepreneurial world cup in Russia, Shumba Tladi chose his late grandmother’s home-made tomato jam.

After some deliberation, his Grade 11 group from Dendron Secondary, outside Polokwane, decided to enter the competition using his idea. They came tops in the district, provincial and national legs of the competition.

They competed in Nigeria last year and have now advanced to the final leg, where their tomato jam will compete against the world’s brightest entrepreneurial minds at the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (Sage) World Cup 2014 in Moscow from Friday.

Matlou Madibana, who guided the pupils in their project, said they were asked to think of an innovative and sustainable business idea.

“In the end the winning group decided on something that was easy to manufacture but still unique. Their business was supposed to be something that would benefit the community and generate some income,” said Madibana.

“They were already selling their product by the time they went to the competition and the response from the community was very good. At the moment they are selling about 100 units a month and are only manufacturing according to the number of orders taken.”

Tladi said he was pleased by the fact that the legacy of his grandmother, Rosina Thaba, was making a difference in young people’s lives.

“It’s a great honour for my late grandmother and I could not think of anything else but her tomato jam recipe when asked to come up with an idea. I am inspired to look into exposing more of our home-made products in a way that will create business opportunities not only for me but our communities,” he said.

“My late grandmother’s idea will not benefit me but the whole community. It has inspired us to be innovative and we’re now manufacturing apple jam too. My aim is to get as much international business exposure as I can, identify opportunities and work with the youth in empowerment projects, and take advantage of business opportunities.”

Another learner, also in Grade 11, Mananana Motimele, said her group hoped to empower others.

“The competition has helped us discover the entrepreneurial spirit that had been hiding in us and because it was all about community upliftment we want the community to benefit. Other learners are already helping as volunteers in the manufacturing process and they will take over the project when we move on to university and explore other business ventures,” said Motimele.

“Our products were given the green light for human consumption by the University of Limpopo who tested it. This is only the beginning. Our aim is to add more jam flavours and supply chain stores and maybe export once we’re a registered entity, which will be community-centred and run by the youth as a self-sustainable business.”

Meanwhile, Madibana said the four young entrepreneurs were focused on their studies and were working part time on the jam business.

“Their product is manufactured once or twice a month depending on the orders. They have only several hours a month to work on their project and the rest of the time they are normal learners who are also performing very well academically,” he said.

“They’re now taking it [their project] to Russia where it will compete against other international innovations and we can only hope for the best. They are also getting good international exposure, which will benefit the project and can be shared with other youths.”

The learners are selling the tomato and apple jam for R20 for a small jar.

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