A qualified chemical engineer, Mr Bheki Zondo, based in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg, has just finalised a R6.5-million biscuit deal. 45-year old Zondo, is the new owner of Biscotti Biscuits, after taking over this biscuit factory from the Italian Valle family last year.
This businessman not only has the passion of baking biscuits, but he also aims at taking on some of the JSE blue-chip companies that control the growing sector. He currently bakes over a thousand biscuits a day and is planning on running a 24 hour operation to keep up with the demand for Biscotti biscuits.
He recently received some assistance from Massmart, Africa’s third-largest retailer owned by Walmart, this million rand deal is sure to give companies like AVI’s Bakers Biscuits, Pioneers Foods Moir’s brand and Mondelez South Africa a run for their money.
Massmart has a supplier development programme, which Zondo was fortunate to benefit from. This programme is a partnership between Massmart and the Gordon Institute of Business Science, which is aimed at equipping selected small, medium and micro enterprises with business foundation skills. From this programme, about 33 entrepreneurs have graduated from the training course earlier this month.
This deal between Zondo and Massmart includes a R5-million loan from the Massmart development programmes financial partner, Absa Enterprise Development. Massmart is a guarantor for 50% of the loan and Absa is guaranteeing the balance. A R1.45-million was provided for the upgrading of the factory and assuring compliance with food safety standards.
Zondo has doubled his factory’s staff and added an extra shift in order to run the business effectively and competitively. His corporate client’s demands are high, as he supplies to Pick n Pay, Spar, Peermont Hotels, the Netcare Group, Emerald Resort and Casino and South African Airways. Zondo also says, “Taking on the big boys of the industry will be challenging”.
Today, discussions are underway and soon, we may be able to find Biscotti labelled Biscuits on the shelves of Game and Cambridge stores. Makro has recently been bagged, Biscotti biscuits can now be found on these shelves.