Nov 18, 2019
Africa’s biggest retailer annually acknowledges top suppliers at its Supplier Awards. These awards recognise the valuable contribution suppliers make to the success of the Shoprite Group.
The focus of the Shoprite Group Supplier Awards remain on building long-term, collaborative relationships with small and large suppliers, many of whom have been supplying to the Group for years.
This year the group selected and celebrated not one, but two Small, Medium & Micro-Enterprises (SMMEs) - MG Commodities and The Little Cake Company.
Lesotho-based business wins big at Shoprite Supplier Awards
MG Commodities, which supplies rice and sugar beans to the Shoprite Group, won in the SMME category at the Group’s 2019 Supplier Awards.
The family-owned company established in Lesotho, but with premises in Ladybrand, shares the accolade with another small supplier, The Little Cake Company.
- Katleho Motsoasele, General Manager of MG Commodities
The business won in the SMME category in September at the Group’s Free State Division’s supplier awards.
Katleho’s mother, Makatleho Gladys Motsoasele, a serial entrepreneur, started the business in 2008. As a caterer, she noticed a decline in nutritious foods and today she manages the company at a strategic level, while her two sons take care of operations.
The company was listed as a Shoprite supplier in 2015:
- Katleho Motsoasele
Currently MG Commodities supply Shoprite and Usave stores in Lesotho and with the acquisition of the Ladybrand property is setting themselves up for further expansion: “Our plan is to grow our business out of Lesotho and into the Free State and ultimately the rest of South Africa.”
His advice to entrepreneurs who want to supply to the retail group is to commit to and be consistent in the quality of product they supply. “Love your product, live the brand and be willing to improve and comply with the retailer’s exacting standards.”
“Capital is key, but it is not the ultimate determinant. Profit is important, but not key. You need critical mass - you must move volumes. It is not easy, but if you believe in what you are doing, and have a clear vision aligned with strong values, you will achieve your purpose,” he concludes.
Read more on all the winners of the Supplier Awards.
Leap of faith pays off for Leanne Hansmann
In 2010, after her husband passed away, Leanne Hansmann was faced with difficult decisions about how to take care of her two children because she had been a stay-at-home mom for many years.
“I had to do something to earn an income. I either had to take a job, or start my own business and while starting my own business seemed very risky, I knew it would give me an opportunity to spend more time with my children, who really needed me after my husband died,” explains Leanne.
Leanne was a good baker, so she decided to take a leap of faith by starting The Little Cake Company in Glen Anil, Durban. She started off by supplying shops in and around Durban, and shortly after she met the Shoprite Group’s divisional buyers at the Good Food and Wine Show in 2015, she started supplying Checkers stores in KwaZulu-Natal.
- Leanne Hansmann, owner of The Little Cake Company
The Little Cake Company supplies cakes and cupcakes under its own brand and under one of the Group’s private label convenience brands. When Leanne had started her company, they made deliveries directly to shops, but since becoming a private label supplier, she now delivers to the Group’s distribution centre in Canelands, KwaZulu-Natal.
One of the core aspects of The Little Cake Company is that they are dedicated to helping women and all their employees are from informal settlements near Glen Anil. “We hire women who have no skills, no experience and have never been employed before, and we do this so that we can train them and give them a chance.”
“A lot of our ladies are also single mothers, who have no other means of taking care of their families, so we take pride in the fact that we can help them. Of course, taking this approach means that we have to be very patient with the people we hire and sometimes, we’ll take them on and train them so that they can find jobs elsewhere.”
Leanne is grateful for the opportunities that the Shoprite Group has given her because she’s doing what she loves and her business also helps her to uplift and empower the women in her community.
- Leanne Hansmann