Cowdray Park youth entrepreneurs soar
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected]
A lesson on entrepreneurship delivered at their church inspired a group of young people from Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo to start a catering and bakery business.
In 2019, the youths from Cowdray Park Main Seventh Day Adventist established Haventale Group.
The company, which started off with 13 members, would initially offer catering services before introducing bakery to ensure daily cash flow.
Havental Group offers catering services at funerals, weddings and parties among other events.
They also prepare a wide range of confectionery items.
Some of the goods are produced per order. Their last catering job was last month when they cooked for about 1 200 mourners at a funeral.
Haventale Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Khanyisile Mbambo said it is their desire to grow their business into a renowned enterprise. He said they wish to establish a restaurant and expand their business so that they can create employment for local youths.
Turning to how Haventale Group was established, Mr Mbambo said after the life changing lesson was delivered at church, he caucused with his fellow church mates on the kind of business they could explore.
“We used to receive teachings on various topics as youths in church but there is one lesson on entrepreneurship which triggered a business urge in us. We realised that as young people, we didn’t have to wait to be employed by someone but we had to create employment ourselves. I came together with a couple of my friends and we discussed the lesson and agreed that we had to start a business of our own.
“As peers, we had some experience in serving people through assisting at various church functions and that is why we chose a catering business. From there, we identified other people we could work with and came up with a name for our business.
“The name Haventale is a combination of “Haven” and “tale.” We combined the two words to create a unique name for the company. The name also reflects the character of the business. We strive to bring happiness, peace, and create memories by offering quality services to people during their special events,” he said.
Mr Mbambo said while they had gained some knowledge through serving in the church and assisting during church events, they saw it ideal to undertake various courses.
He said some members of the project undertook courses in business management and cookery, which has helped to improve how they manage their business.
Mr Mbambo said it is their desire to expand their business and employ more youths. He said he wants their business venture to motivate other youths to start their own businesses.
“Like every business, we have had our ups and downs and the Covid-19 pandemic affected us. There was a time when we employed people to sell our bakery products but we let them go during the Covid-19 period. We wish to create employment for many youths and this will be possible if our business grows. We wish to become a household name. The reason why we used “group” for our name is because we want to open more lines of business,” he said.
Haventale Group catering and bakery managing director, Mr Nkosilathi Mkhwananzi said in addition to the courses they undertook, they also conduct research on the internet in order to enhance their services and improve their products.
He said they always aim to maintain a high level of professionalism in their conduct.
Mr Mkhwananzi said in order to expand their business, they need equipment of their own as they rely on hired utensils. He said their project needs capital injection in order to incorporate other lines of operation. The project is set to incorporate a restaurant and garden for supply of fresh farm produce.
“As a business which was established not so long ago, we are in need of capital injection. If we get our own utensils, we will be able to get more proceeds from our operations because at the moment we are losing a lot of money through hiring equipment. It would really help us if we got a partner or investor.
“In the meantime, we have been using various social media platforms to market our services. We have also made efforts to raise awareness among community members on the services that we offer.
“People in the community support our business a lot and they place orders. The work that we do for our clients helps us to get more clients,” he said.
Mr Mkhwananzi said it is their desire to offer quality services not only to the community of Cowdray Park or Bulawayo but even beyond. He said it is important for young entrepreneurs to strive to improve the standard of their services and to meet international standards.
Mr Mkhwananzi said their business has helped him explore his talent and love for cooking. The opportunity has also allowed him to sharpen his cooking skills.
He said lessons they have received on entrepreneurship at church have helped to empower the youth.
“The youths have to focus on forming consortiums and starting their own businesses. When starting a business you have to start somewhere even though it might be at a small scale, and then grow that business,” he said. — @DubeMatutu