At a time when the government is talking radical economic transformation, a lack of funding has one of the most interesting black owned project on the brink of missing out on it’s big break. The Inhlonipho Business Enterprise ticks all the boxes to give the government one of the first success stories of the much talked about slogan.
“We are a 100% black, youth owned business that is ready to knock on the doors that many thought we’re closed for black youth,” said Cebo Msomi, Inhlonipho co-founder.
We are an egg-supplying business that was started, less than a year ago, by two unemployed boys who had grade 12 as their highest qualifications. Today we have 25 chicken giving us between 21 and 24 eggs per day.”
Though the business is still at it’s infancy stages, it already has the chance to supply eggs to one of the biggest restaurants in the country, provided they get the neccessary funding.
“Early this year we took a risk that has the potential to change our lives forever when approached Wimpy and asked to supply them with eggs. The manager agreed provided we could provide them with 1000 eggs per day, which is about 40 times more than we are producing right now,” explained Lungelo, another co-founder.
Since then we have been trying to raise funds to add at least 1500 layers but that’s proving too difficult in practice. We thought we would sell the eggs we have inorder to raise the money but the money from the eggs can only cover the costs of their feed at best.”
Inhlonipho Business Enterprise was started by Cebo Msomi and Lungelo Mbelu in 2016, after numerous attempts to get into University without luck. The issue of funding has been a major challenge for them since day one but they’ve managed to deal with them well up to this point. Inhlonipho was always meant to be an eggs-supplying business but since they didn’t have the funds to buy the egg-producing chicken, they found alternative ways to raise capital.
“We bought 50 hens that we raised to be broilers (meat-producing chicken) and then sold them when they had grown. We used that money to buy the 25 layers (eggs-producing chicken breed) that we have today and that was the start Inhlonipho,” explained Lungelo.
Though it is still in it’s infancy stages, Inhlonipho has proved one of the most daring projects around. They are taking risks and “knocking on closed doors” as Cebo puts it.
“We are not scared to take risks, getting into the agricultural industry at a time when the local market is at it’s lowest state ever and spending all our savings on a small-scale project was always going to be risky. Doing it as black kids with neither a mentor nor an academic background of note sounded suicidal at first but we’re trying our best to rise above those challenges too.”
The National Youth Development Agency said only the manager is authorised to talk to people other than the actual applicants but efforts to reach him proved fruitless.