Kuloola and Zisebenze empower rural entrepreneurs

Kuloola, an online store delivering groceries to rural communities through a mobile application – which in Zulu means ‘work’ or ‘operate’ – was provided with funding from E Squared in 2020 through the Innovation and Response fund, which was developed during COVID-19 to support businesses at the frontline response to the pandemic. Due to the company’s growth, E Squared reinvested in the business in 2021.

Listen to Siyanda Mthethewa, Founder of Kuloola and NPO Zisebenze being interviewed on Radio 2000 where he talks about his journey and the funding he received from E Squared Investments and SAB Foundation for his business.

TECH TUESDAY: (16 August 2022) SA’s first rural online grocery store Kuloola
brings convenience and growth to communities. It was
established in 2020, and delivers groceries to the doorsteps
of rural homes and spaza shops in eShowe, KZN. We now
speak to the founder, Siyanda Mthethwa.

Kuloola Founder, Siyanda Mthethwa goes on to found NPO Zisebenze

When conducting deliveries Kuloola drivers kept encountering rural youth desperately seeking employment opportunities, hoping their drivers could assist. They also came across a lot of rural locals, especially senior citizens, complaining about the distance they needed to travel to the closest store to buy day-to-day necessities like bread and sugar, creating huge inconvenience, cost, and wasted time in transit. And so Zisebenze was launched.

Bongaz Tuckshop 2.0: How Zisebenze is empowering rural entrepreneurs 

Bonga Sokhulu at 22 years, dropped out of university to look after his ailing mother after his father died in a tragic tractor accident. In September 2019, the opportunity presented by Zisebenze and a 3x3m container with stock and support has fully empowered Bonga once again.

Most youth – particularly those in rural areas – face a harsh reality of limited opportunity and impossible choices; caught between a rock and a hard place.  

E Squared celebrated the launch of “Bongaz Tuckshop” version 2.0 on 1st March in Eshowe, KwaZulu. In attendance for the launch of Bongaz’s expanded business and to see how the funding will be used, were Cheryl Jacob and Raees Hajat of the Social Entrepreneurship team. Cheryl says, “It was a fantastic opportunity for the team to meet Bonga and the community that will be impacted by the convenience the spaza shop provides. The best part is that we will get to witness 20 further rural entrepreneurs become self-reliant business people like Bonga over the coming months.” 

Watch this video of where it all began for Bonga and Zisebenze: https://vimeo.com/373391573