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Cool success with ice cream

Written by Mbulelo Baloyi
You will find them everywhere where many people are gathered. They can be seen outside school premises during breaks or after school; sometimes you bump into them on the streets or even at cemeteries where mourners are gathered. These young entrepreneurs are part of the Ice-Cream-On-Wheels project, a partnership between the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and Nestlé SA.

The main goal of the Ice-Cream-On-Wheels project is to help young people get involved in the business of selling ice cream. Nestlé SA gives them R1 500 worth of initial stock to sell. The profits from the stock are used to buy more stock from Nestlé SA.

In addition, Nestlé SA gives each young entrepreneur a motorbike or bicycle, a freezer, branded shirts, trousers and caps. They also receive product training on how to run their businesses.

The project is in its sixth year. It was started in 2005 by the former Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) to address poverty and unemployment among young people by encouraging them to become entrepreneurs. Youth participating in the project are recruited by the NYDA and they get financial support, training and mentorship.

In addition, several Further Education and Training (FET) colleges are involved with training them in different business practices, including life skills and how to obtain a motorbike licence.

Bangkok

The idea of training ice cream vendors was based on a vending system in Bangkok, Thailand. In South Africa, Nestlé currently has about 3 000 vendors on motorbikes taking ice-cream products closer to consumers.

The ice cream project was first tried in Mamelodi, Tshwane in 2006 with 15 motorbikes. The trial was very successful with vendors each earning profits of between R3 000 and R6 000 in the first month. The decision was then made to make the project national.