From its humble beginnings, Somkhanda Trading (PTY) Ltd is now supplying 136 Shoprite stores in KwaZulu-Natal. This success is a reflection of the help the business got from the University’s Technology Station in Chemicals (TSC).
Somkhanda manufactures the agave-infused jelly product called Agave Master, which it supplies to Shoprite, one of the retail giants in the country. S’busiso Nkosi, Deputy Director: MUT-TSC, said that with the help from the station, Somkhanda Trading (PTY) Ltd was able to commercialize this product and supply both Spar and Shoprite supermarkets with his products.
But it was not plain sailing for the completely Black-owned manufacturer. The company went through some tough times. For instance, while the original product was sold to individuals, it was discovered that the raw materials used for manufacturing were not of good quality.
Nkosi said that the TSC assisted with improving the product and developed both lavender and herbal agave jelly.
“The improved products were well-received by the market. The client got a contract to supply Spar Supermarkets in Durban. In June 2021 the client obtained a contract to supply 136 Shoprite stores in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Nkosi.
The client started with six stores.