The Business: Vuleka was born out of a need that Brian Makwaiba and his co-founder Oscar saw in their creative agency: They were promoting products in the townships, but discovered a need for these products to actually be made available to the spaza shops in those areas.
They started out trying to be an aggregator for the spaza shops – buying in bulk to enjoy discounts, to pass better prices on to the shops.
It was a great service to the shops but they realised the margins are terrible.
The growth journey: When Vuleka started working with Aurik they realised that in their value chain, the manufacturers of the products presented an opportunity to make money, rather than their primary client: the spaza shops.
They repositioned the business to provide the manufacturers a route to market in the informal economy, and to share data on the consumption patterns of those goods, neither of which had not been done before.
Together with Aurik they systematised the business, so that everything from procurement to invoicing and HR had a process that was documented.
This enabled Brian and Oscar to hire a team that could run the day to day of the business, leaving them to focus on growth.
The documenting of their finances enabled them to secure funding from Pfizer to purchase their own vehicles.
Their systematisation culminated in the development of an app, which makes it simple and consistent to record information for the youth marketers who track consumption in the spaza shops. It is also the key to the scalability of Vuleka, which is already active in Alexandra, Thembisa and Soweto, but is in discussions to expand to other parts of the country.
Turnover: 983% increase
Job creation: Employ 6 permanent and 18 youth marketers in townships
Time: Systems & processes have allowed Vuleka to hire and train people to take over various aspects of the business.
Funding: Through the financial analysis work they did, they were able to secure funding from Pfizer for the purchase of delivery vehicles.
Scale: Through the development of an app, they are now ready to expand countrywide.