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How the Township Economy Sprouted this Agripreneur’s Venture

Creating a value chain to benefit business and residents in South Africa’s informal townships requires skill and perseverance, but that is the incredible success story of entrepreneur Lufefe Nomjana with his Spinach King franchise. Nomjana has grown his business from an initial stake of $2, four bunches of spinach and the use of a neighbour’s oven in 2011, into a franchise operation that currently has five stores, and growing, and distributes products into selected retails outlets in the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces of South Africa. And it is all built around the concept of nutritious eating and promoting a healthy lifestyle, something Nomjana believes is under-valued by township retailers. After the instant success of the business, Nomjana was nominated by the United Nations for a scholarship at the University of Milan in Italy, where he enrolled for a course centered on nutrition and food sciences that he ultimately finished at the University of Cape Town. “We have got around 50 ‘gardens’ in the townships from where we source our ingredients directly and so this is a large value chain that not only benefits us as a business, but also the wider community.”