How this entrepreneur is bringing supply chain management to township spazas

Updated on 4 November 2014

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How this entrepreneur is bringing supply chain management to township spaza

Zimbabwean-born Jairos Jaja knows exactly the taste of business failure. But, today, thanks to his tenacity, he also knows the taste of success. Jaja is the owner of Havatigone Corporate Trading, a company that specialises in  the marketing and distribution of fast moving consumer goods, a company he started in October last year.

Easing supply chain pains

Havatigone Corporate Training  is tapping into the co-operative supply chain procurement market for small businesses and local sellers.

“We are a supply chain management  of fast-moving consumer goods that was formed to strengthen the spaza shops, vendors and community restaurants in the townships,” said Jaja.

“Currently we are operating in five towns in Limpopo: Bela Bela, Modimolle, Vaaalwater, Lephalale and Naboom.”

Havatigone Corporate Trading deals with fast-consumer goods like groceries, body care and cleaning products and through a Zimbabwean subsidiary, it is now able to market and distribute prepaid airtime and SIM-cards on behalf of mobile network companies.

“We undertake negotiations and establish the price, availability, and customisation possibilities. We then negotiate delivery schedules and complete a contract to purchase,” he said.

Seizing opportunity

Jaja says he went into the procurement business after seeing a steady rise in the number of startups and  small scale businesses in many townships as a result of high unemployment levels, and seeing how these businesses were struggling with weak supply chain management systems.

“These small businesses struggle to succeed due to many things like failure to access banks, credit and business support, the lack of business knowledge and, of course, weak supply chain,” said Jaja. “Competition against larger and more established business are also putting them out of business.”

“I started with a panel beating company, then phoneshops, then photocopying and printing, then distribution of agro-inputs. I also did farming, transport and logistics lastly supply chain management,” he said. “You have to fail until you succeed.”

Business challenges

Jaja got his business training from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg. He says he is privileged for the full support he continues to receive from the Centre and that his business acumen is growing exponentially because of it.

Jaja said the business has many challenges, but the main one is the shortage of delivery vehicles.

“Our model and competitive advantage is on door-to-door deliveries. But currently we do not have adequate vehicles to do so, and that is also hampering our expansion opportunities,” he said.

Jaja said his goal is to expand their products and services range by negotiating the distribution of other fast-moving consumer goods from the vast network of suppliers they deal with.

“Since inception, it has been good though there is room for improvement if we can manage to address the delivery vehicles challenge,” he said.

Jaja attributes his success so far to his nerves of steel and positive attitude despite the challenges.

“To date I have formed and managed seven failed businesses and three successful ones,” Jaja said.

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