Phungula, 33, who now runs a successful chilli sauce manufacturing firm called Foodie King’s in Hibberdene, endured skew looks that day, and even mocking words that he would never be able to make a business out of chilli sauce.
“People told me that I was selling them ulcers and some even thought I was selling some kind of muti,” Phungula said.
But he sold all 10 bottles to happy customers and earned R100 at the taxi rank that day. He took this income and bought more chillies and produced 40 bottles of chilli sauce.
“After selling those 40 I was then able to buy a whole 15kg bag of chillies. I had to go to a friend to borrow a household blending machine to process the chillies. I made 150 bottles of sauce with the whole bag of chillies,” Phungula said.
Phungula then started selling his sauces in local markets and eventually moved his operation from home to a small business premises in Hibberdene.
His business received support from the Ugu district municipality, and the Umzumbe Municipality’s economic development department helped him with funding to buy processing equipment.
Today Foodie King’s employs three staff and produces between 3000 and 3500 bottles of sauce a month. He supplies fresh produce markets and shisa nyama lounges and is working on getting his product listed in local retail outlets before exporting to the rest of the SADC region.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to make use of their skills and resources without waiting for assistance from investors or the government.
“They say dynamite comes in small packages; don’t wait until you have something huge in your hands, start with the little that you have and believe in what you are doing even though some people don’t believe in it.
“Be passionate, have faith and work hard enough to turn things around and grow what you have started,” Phungula said.