Local businesswoman chosen for business programme

Makekele Somo of Kosmos Ridge is one of 46 promising entrepreneurs with small businesses that have been selected to participate in the Tholoana Enterprise Development Programme.

More than 2 000 applications countrywide were received for this prestigious programme.

Makekele, the founder of Elvema Nutrition with her sister, Mawetja Thema, was recognised as a high performing candidate. Her passion and focus caught the attention of an entire team of business growth professionals following stringent selection criteria.

The rigorous process included desktop reviews of the online applications, followed by telephonic assessments, attendance of a workshop at the Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning in Johannesburg, and a site visit to the business premises.

Elvema Nutrition, which operates from premises at the CSIR, manufactures and distributes nutritional instant porridge and related nutritional products containing fortified Moringa Oleifera to individuals and retailers. The Moringa tree is regarded as nature’s pharmacy and miracle tree. The resilient, fast-growing Moringa tree is packed with many vitamins and nutrients and has a very high nutritional value.

In her commendation Catherine Wijnberg, CEO of Fetola, who is the implementing partner of the Tholoana programme, congratulated Makekele: “I’m thrilled that we will help her to grow this business successfully. We will provide wraparound support including our specially personalised mentoring, workshops, e-learning and investment readiness preparation. This methodology has been proven to help many hundreds of businesses in the past.”

“It’s not easy running a business. After attending the workshop, I understand a lot of practices better. It is good to know you’re not alone,” says Makekele, who is especially grateful for the way the presenters explained how entrepreneurs can discover what their core business is and the explanation of creating a business plan.

“This enables you to narrow your focus. It was really striking. I’m looking forward to expanding my business skills further and taking my business to the next level.”

It is not the first time Elvema Nutrition was selected for a development programme. In January last year the company was selected as a SMME for technical incubation as part of a Jobs Fund initiative at the Bio-manufacturing Industry Development Centre (BIDC) which ended in March this year.

Currently, Elvema Nutrition’s product range consists of instant porridge for kids, instant porridge for adults, an advanced instant porridge range and a power shake. The nutritional instant porridge is offered in five flavours: banana, strawberry, vanilla, apple and chocolate. The products are available at selected Spar outlets countrywide and through agents.

“Ultimately, the intention with Elvema is to create and nurture a healthy, exuberant, respectful and enjoyable workplace in which employees are fairly compensated and encouraged to respect the customer and the quality of the service they intend to provide, and to be a world-class manufacturer of good quality nutritional products that is affordable to address the socio-economic and health benefits for our country, while at the same time generating an income,” says Makekele.

Future products from Moringa that are in the pipeline include tea, capsules, powder and moisturising cream.

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