Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduate Ms Thandazani Zulu used her research on how Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) can survive during a crisis to launch her new range of cold-pressed juices, Nourish.

As the owner and director of Pietermaritzburg-based catering and events company Food by the Gift, Zulu used the lessons learnt from being a small business owner during the COVID-19 pandemic to expand her business in order to survive.

‘The pandemic taught me to quickly adapt to changes and come up with a solution such as introducing daily meals and pre-ordered lunches and having them delivered to our customers work and homes. COVID-19 affected us so much but more than anything, it forced us to think outside the box,’ she said.

This resulted in the birth of Nourish, which is manufactured by Food by the Gift. Diversification was integral to the company’s surviving the pandemic as lockdown regulations restricted the hosting of events and resulted in catering companies not trading for months.

‘The aim of this venture is to be different from our competitors. We do this by promoting healthy living through healthy and nutritious products. Our cold pressed juices contain no artificial colours, flavours, chemicals or preservatives,’ explained Zulu.

The entrepreneur also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UKZN.

‘The qualifications gave me confidence in my journey and so much information to grow as an entrepreneur. They opened many opportunities and exposed me to places where I was able to pitch my business and get clients,’ she said.

She added that her entrepreneurial journey as a student selling muffins on campus motivated her to start her own business and contributed to her growth and success.

‘UKZN was not just a place to study, but also a place where my business started and grew. My Bachelor of Business Administration lecturers were always willing to help and support Food by the Gift, which started with the sale of platters for small functions. Then I put in the work, did my research, never stopped learning and it is paying off,’ said Zulu.

Looking to the future, Zulu hopes to own eateries around KwaZulu-Natal to sell and serve her products while creating job opportunities and contributing to economic development.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied