Apprentice vendors given brief boost

Street vendor Fanafuthi Sidi is chuffed that his daily profit has risen from R12 to R40 since competitors in the hit TV show The Apprentice South Africa came visiting.

The contestants were given the task of finding a street vendor and increasing his or her turnover. They also had to ensure the business’ sustainability.
They were split into two groups (men and women) and unleashed on the streets of Johannesburg.

Sidi, whose stall is situated at the corner of Jeppe and Rissik streets in the Johannesburg city centre, was the envy of other vendors as the female contestants teamed up with him.

After 24 hours of negotiating and selling goods, the team produced a turnover of R1 964,40—increasing Sidi’s profitability by 1 600%. The team also secured a R500 donation from Nedbank. This put the women into the winning position and they were rewarded with a trip to Hartbeespoort dam.

Sidi says the experience has been unbelievable. It’s not every day that a street vendor gets to appear on TV and there was a definite feeling of excitement that day.

Now that the cameras have moved Sidi is still taking baby steps. He has acquired the basic skills to grow his business, including being able to negotiate better prices on fruit and vegetables and marketing skills.

“Every owner of a small business dreams of expanding his business,” Sidi says. And his minor celebrity status has won him attention on the streets, where people stop and say, “I saw you on TV!” Unfortunately he wasn’t able to watch the show himself because his TV only picks up SABC1.

Meanwhile, Michael Mongwe, the vendor who was helped by the men’s team, has become a petrol-pump attendant because, his mother says, it offers better financial security.

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