The Beginning of Eggsellent
My name is Lebogang Mashigo. I’m 30 years old and I own Eggsellent, a business that’s now 15 months old. The business is legally registered as ‘Eggsellent by Lebo’. We have been operating for the past 15 months and we are located in rural Mpumalanga. I started the business from loss – I went through a difficult period that left me as a single mother with a very small baby. I was unemployed and had a little baby to take care of. I started other ideas that didn’t work out but they were brilliant ideas that led me to Eggsellent.
Eggsellent is a backyard Egg producing business. We produce fresh eggs, package them and distribute them to different customers. I originally started with reselling eggs that I bought from a big farm. I took to social media to advertise my egg selling business and I got a lot of interest from different people. After three months of reselling, I started researching about producing eggs. I then spoke to a friend who sponsored me with money to buy twenty laying chickens. Another friend helped me buy fifty layers which allowed me to sit with seventy laying chickens. For a start, the seventy was good but it wasn’t enough because the volume of orders we were receiving had doubled and we were forced to continue outsourcing to a bigger farm.
We sell our eggs to local households, spaza shops , food shops and other businesses that use eggs. We are a small business that is growing and is able to compete with bigger and stronger brands. We have managed to start and grow an online market that buys from our online e-commerce site which has allowed us more reach. The business now employs myself and one more person. We have recently received government funding through the Nation Youth Development Agency which will enable us to buy more laying chickens. This opportunity is going to allow us to grow our production (depending less on outsourcing), to increase our labor (by creating more jobs), increase our business turnover and profits and put us in a better position to receive more investment.
The Challenges and Obstacles;
Funding my own business has been difficult and the biggest challenge to date. Setting up a poultry farming business is expensive. Having been unemployed for a long time added to the Challenges because I did not have savings I could tap into to build my business. I didn’t have a mentor to take my hand and lead me on my journey. I had to use the internet for all the knowledge I gained thus far. This also exposed me to making lots of costly mistakes. The poultry business is expensive to start and to maintain which is why I think there’s less black people involved. This makes it difficult to be black-owned and for start-ups to survive and thrive.
There’s no one who looks like us, comes from our background or even understand our dreams. Another challenge is being based in a rural area. My potential primary customers don’t have jobs and they can’t afford to buy our produce. This is a big obstacle that we’ve had to learn to work around. Getting land for me as a woman and viewed as young by the tribal authority that controls most of the land, I have been challenged greatly. We don’t have business development agencies in the rural areas. One needs to spend lots of money to travel to access help, knowledge and skills.
The reason I keep going is because I love what I’m doing. My passion has kept me going. I’m a self- starter so that forced me to look to myself to keep going and winning. My dream for myself, my daughter and my future keeps me going. I believe winning is the only option for me. My vision for my business is to be the ultimate trusted brand for fresh eggs for all occasions. I want to grow the business and brand to compete nationally in the next 36 months. I also want to grow beyond the borders of South Africa. I want to employ many young people in my community and help with food security while helping to also take care of the environment.