Money for jam with eKasiLab

Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe

Gontse Selacoe (23) has turned his knowledge of growing fruit and vegetables into a growing agro-processing company called All Day Jam. All Day Jam comes in four varieties: tomato, melon, peach and pear.

All Day Jam harvests, manufactures and packages four varieties of jam – tomato, melon, peach and pear. Apart from pears, which Selacoe buys, the fruit used is grown in Selacoe’s garden.

Selacoe who is from the Free State, says his grandmother, Mabel Selacoe, taught him how to grow fruit and vegetables and how to make jam.

“My grandmother encouraged us to harvest produce during weekends and school holidays. After the harvest, she would make jam for us at home.”

He admits that he considered the job a chore and not a fun activity, but when his grandmother encouraged him to turn the skills he had learnt from her into a business after matriculating in 2019, he realised the value of her lessons.

“I initially wanted to be a professional pantsula dancer and was planning to buy shoes with the R1 000 I had saved. My grandmother, however, convinced me to instead invest in a business.”

Selacoe used his money to buy jars and stickers for labels. Soon after, he was selling his first jams in his community.

It was through social media advertising that he received an invite to attend a local entrepreneurship webinar, at which he was introduced to the Innovation Hub.

The Innovation Hub is the innovation agency of the Gauteng Province. It is owned by the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, which falls under the Department of Economic Development.

Government support

“I pitched my business plan to the Innovation Hub and through them, I was enrolled in the eKasiLab programme in Sebokeng, which has given me financial business support and furthered my innovation skills,” he says.

The eKasiLab programme helps with mentoring and assisting qualifying entrepreneurs. The programme has facilities across the five economic corridors in Gauteng, covering areas such as Mohlakeng, Sebokeng, Ga-Rankuwa, Soweto, Thembisa, Alexandra, Mamelodi, Kagiso, Kathorus and Mabopane.

Selacoe says that eKasiLab put him in contact with the Small Enterprise Development Agency, which is providing intellectual property, product development, product testing, branding and packaging support.

 “Government assistance has enabled me to dream bigger. I can now see our product being stocked by major retailers,” Selacoe concluded.

For more information about the eKasiLab programme visit www.connect.theinnovationhub.com or www.theinnovationhub.com/business-incubators/ekasi-labs-4 or email info@innovationhub.co.za