Soweto born-and-bred businessman Lungelo Mgaga has a drive to build South Africa’s township economy by creating jobs and helping keep residents healthy.
He is the co-founder of Lifeway Impatho Brands, which owns Loxion Fruits Beverages. Lifeway also supplies water, yoghurt and frozen pies.
Him and his business partner, Patrick Thokkie, started their company while spending many hours on the streets of Dobsonville, Soweto.
“We started the business on 24 September 2019, and when we started, we were travelling around Dobsonville, where I live, and at Dobsonville Mall, making people taste the juice,” he said.
“Using our salaries, we bought a (small) machine and we started producing juice. We started from my mother’s kitchen, producing 30-plus litres of juice.”
They now produce more than 300 litres of juice everyday with the help of four employees. The company supplies three tuckshops and two restaurants.
Mgaga said his Diploma in Public Relations has been an asset to the business.
“My qualification helps me a lot because I am able to communicate very well with clients and suppliers. (Also), I understand the nature of my business quite well,” he said.
Mgaga told Vutivi News that the decision to create a township brand was inspired by the need to approach township beverages differently.
“Loxion Fruits offers a fresh juice approach for township homes and kasi-made cuisine,” he said.
“On a daily basis, everyone is looking for a unique, fruity experience while adding value to their drinking needs, and that is what we provide without fail, consistently.”
But Mgaga admits that making juice is not without its challenges, especially in an industry that is so saturated. Hard lessons have shaped the way they do business and approach entrepreneurship.
“When we started out, we did not have enough capital to the run the business and we did not have proper equipment,” he said.
“In spite of that we were able to create a demand for our products, to the extent that we have partnered with e-commerce sites in order to reach more people with our products.”
They have also applied for funding from the National Youth Development Agency, which would deliver equipment soon.
“Competing with other businesses in this sector pushes us to the limit because other brands are well established, dominate the market nationally and internationally,” Mgaga said.
“This means that most customers believe in these brands, and this sometimes discourages customers from buying our products. However, we do not let this get us down.”
Also, it has been critical to keep up with the times.
“We develop and implement digital transformation strategies and invest in training existing team members in order to upscale their skills,” he said.
Mgaga has some advice for entrepreneurs.
“I learned that saving money while taking care of myself mentally is very crucial in business. When running a business… be innovative and versatile,” he said.
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