When the stationery shop she worked for closed down in 2010, the future looked bleak for Persistence Ndlovu.
But shortly thereafter, she heard from a friend that the National Development Agency (NDA) was looking to sponsor start up businesses in Acornhoek, about 180 kilometres from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
She clubbed together with seven other members to form the Redibone Bakery.
With funding of R1 million from the NDA in 2011, the cooperative set up its bakery.
“We bought an oven, bread mixer, a fridge and ingredients to make the bread. We are also currently expanding the premises that we are working from,” said Ndlovu.
Today, the cooperative bakes between 400 and 500 loaves of bread daily and sells every single loaf.
Maxwell Mathebula, NDA provincial manager said, “The NDA is particularly pleased with Redibone’s determination as a team and good leadership which is now paying off. The support from the NDA both financial and non-financial cannot be over emphasised. Our funding started them off the ground,” said Mathebula. He also said based on the training they received on bread making, they produced quality bread which yield loyal clients to their bakery.
The smell of freshly baked bread which wafts out from the entrance of Redibone bakery is indeed a smell of success. “The NDA equipped us with skills of starting a business and business management. We are now a fully fledged business and we are doing very well,” said Ndlovu.
The seven members of the cooperative, who are also its permanent workers, can be seen all dressed up in white coats and chef’s hats to complete the look. The bakery supplies bread to locals and supplies schools that have feeding schemes.
A typical day at the bakery starts at 6am, when the dough is made. It takes about an hour to bake the first batch of bread.
Ndlovu, who is the youngest member of the group, completed her matric in 2007 but had a dream of being involved in business.
Another member of the cooperative Meriam Ngomane said she had been unemployed for seven years after her contract employment at Metro Rail ended.
Ndlovu said they would like to see their business expand to baking scones, muffins and cakes for functions.
For more information on the NDA contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 018 5500.