It was poverty and unemployment that prompted the start of Bright Future Agricultural, a co-operative involved in cultivating organic crops. According to Phindi Zwane, the manager of the company, since its inception in May 2013, Bright Future Agricultural has cultivated 2ha of spinach and 1ha of okra. “To date, we have employed thirteen seasonal workers,” says Zwane. As part of its expansion, the company – which is based in Soshanguve, Extension 10, in the northern part of Tshwane – is processing okra seeds to produce decaffeinated coffee. Zwane believes that it is through sheer hard work that her company scooped the 2017 Township Entrepreneurship Award in the Agriculture category: “I know my business and understand the agricultural industry — I’m creative, dedicated, committed, patient and hardworking, with passion and good leadership,” she says. “Whenever I think of the award, I think of being repaid for hard work.”
The award has immense meaning for Zwane. “It gives me a story to tell, it means my business will always be recognised — this award is going to assist us to expand the farm by buying equipment and employing more people from the community.” According to Zwane, the Township Entrepreneurship Awards have also assisted in growing the opportunities in townships. “The economies in townships are growing; the awards inspire entrepreneurs to extend their businesses and create more opportunities for people from the community.” But as much as township economies are “booming,” challenges continue, especially due to lack of information, the paucity of financial resources and skills shortages, she says.
Zwane has many goals for Bright Future Agricultural: “I want to focus on competitiveness by striving to achieve the desired positioning in the market,” she says. “Through the formation of strategic alliances, expansion and diversification are also goals.” On the expansion side, she intends establishing at least two more poultry farms within the district, while diversification will see her moving into the essential oils industry and entering new markets like exports. For the aspiring township entrepreneur, Zwane has the following advice: “Register your business, attend workshops, network and have a passion for what you do.”