The following content is paid for by VodaLend.
Matlhogonolo Ledwaba, founder and CEO of The Bread Box Bakery is passionate, determined and courageous – qualities vital for an entrepreneur navigating the turbulent times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her business is also one of the first small start-up businesses to receive funding from VodaLend.
Vodacom Financial Services Chief Executive Officer, Mariam Cassim says, “For us, Matlhogonolo epitomises the spirit and values of a motivated South African woman in business. Not only is she focused and determined in growing her business, she’s making the most of every opportunity, she is also compassionate and caring – all admirable qualities that we need to demonstrate right now more than ever before.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown Matlhogonolo and the Bread Box Bakery team spearheaded an initiative to provide food parcels for over 100 desperate children in the Midrand region.
“When the lockdown was first announced in March this year, I nearly shut the business down. But then I thought of all the people relying on me – my employees and the desperate kids out there. Bread is an essential basic so I just had to press on no matter the challenges,” she says.
Together with other companies in the food business, Matlhogonolo repurposed her “Tuesday Powertalk” group, which is a forum for SMME’s in the area to exchange skills and ideas, to plan the distribution of food to orphanages.
“Other suppliers add meat, vegetables and other food items to my baked items. The orphanages come and collect the food, which now feeds over 100 children,” Matlhogonolo explains.
Funding success with VodaLend
Matlhogonolo attributes the early success of The Breadbox Bakery to the initial financial backing from VodaLend.
“Our bakery business started in my kitchen in early 2017. However, we soon got to a point where our domestic stove could not cope with the growing volume of orders. After appealing unsuccessfully for funding from the banks, we approached VodaLend which forms part of Vodacom Financial Services. Their requirements were simple and the application process was online, quick and user-friendly,” she says.
With funding secured, Matlhogonolo was able to purchase an industrial scale oven as well as equipment needed to start a baking school for the local community.
“There is no doubt that VodaLend has made a material difference to our business. The increase in business means we can employ more people and our customer base now includes both retail outlets in the area and corporate catering companies. The VodaLend team as part of the funding programme has provided ongoing support and advice, which has been invaluable,” she says.
Mariam says, “We recognise the financial challenges that SMEs face in the current economy and we are committed to providing solutions to meet their needs.”
Not just funding – An inspiring business partnership
Support from Vodacom Financial Services extends beyond just business funding. Mariam says: “The under-serviced small business market is full of untapped potential and allows innovative funders, who are able to tailor business-specific solutions, to help these companies reach their full potential.”
VodaLend is a disruptive SME business funding solution, where applicants can apply online, furnish basic business details, and receive a response within hours. There are no hidden fees, no paperwork and no branch visits.
VodaLend funding requirements
- Registered and operational for 12 months
- Have a good credit standing
- A turnover of R500k a year and R40k a month
In addition, businesses that secure funding with VodaLend qualify for a R2 000 eziADS Voucher, eziADS is a digital and mobile advertising bundle on the Vodacom Digital Advertising portal. The bundle includes text and display advert types across various Vodacom platforms.
This service has been extremely effective. In the case of The Breadbox Bakery a Please Call Me SMS campaign delivered more than 4.5-million impressions and a display ad featured on Vodacom’s platforms AppWorld, MyMuze got close to 250 click-throughs.
Mariam says, “We are proud of Matlhogonolo and her team. This is a perfect example of what we at Vodacom Financial Services are trying to do: identify business in need and offer support both financially and by assisting them by offering advice and assisting with a range of other needs. This sector is crucial to the overall success of South Africa’s economy and we believe that it is vital to play a role in supporting such businesses.”
The Vodacom Financial Services team are already working with The Breadbox Bakery to enable contact less QR payment and e-commerce facilities available to the growing business. Best of all, The Bread Box Bakery has now launched an entire new range of instant products thanks to the innovative thinking of the phenomenal woman who owns this business.