WATCH | Creamy creations: Soweto entrepreneur uses R350 grant to start successful ice-cream business

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  • A photographer started an ice-cream business using his R350 social grant.
  • Soweto Creamery founder Thando Makhubu saved his grant money for two months.
  • Makhubu now employs four people, and his creamy creations are still in popular demand, almost two years later.

Like many South Africans, Soweto events photographer Thando Makhubu felt the pinch when the Covid-19 lockdown came into effect in March 2020.

When jobs became limited and financial stability went out the window, the 30-year-old applied for a R350 social grant.

READ | This man started his own ice-cream business with a R350 grant, and now employs four people

He saved up the money and started his own ice-cream business. He is currently employing four people.

Business start-up

Makhubu founded Soweto Creamery in August 2020.

Soweto Creamery founder Thando Makhubu.

Here, he works with his mother and siblings to create extravagant bowls of creamy goodness topped with an array of sweet treats.

Makhubu told News24 he had worked in the corporate industry before focusing entirely on events photography.

"I saved half my salary to reinvest into my photography brand, and it grew to a point where it was my main source of income. Then Covid hit," said Makhubu.

Work was scarce, and when he could not make ends meet, he set out to find another source of income to help support his family.

Social grant success

Makhubu later applied for the R350 social grant to start an ice-cream business.

"People that know me know that I love food and that I have a sweet tooth," he said.

The R350 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant was introduced in 2020 due to the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He used R700, saved over two months, to purchase 20 containers and supplies to sample a few ice-cream dishes he recalled seeing on Pinterest.

Driving demand

After sharing images of his creations on social media, the Jabulani-born photographer received several visitors at his mother's home for a taste, including well-known socialite Mohale Motaung.

Motaung posted images of Makhubu's ice cream to his social media and helped drive the demand for more orders.

Makhubu also got a special mention earlier this year from President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address. Ramaphosa commended Makhubu's success with the use of a social grant.

"I'm really excited for Soweto Creamery. It makes me realise that if you are passionate about something and you are willing to work for it, it is possible," said Makhubu.

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