The BreadBox Bakery and Studio, a passion project by Matlhogonolo Ledwaba, has transformed into a thriving bakery business that has provided employment opportunities for about 25 individuals, positively impacting women’s lives in Midrand, Gauteng.
According to SANews, Ledwaba felt deeply moved by the struggles of women in her community who faced unemployment and relied on handouts and social grants. In 2016, driven to make a difference, she began teaching baking skills to female beggars, initially inviting two women to her kitchen.
The initiative quickly grew, with more women joining the weekend baking sessions. Ledwaba faced initial challenges in gaining the participants’ trust due to concerns about exploitation. However, her pure intentions won over a few who had faith in her vision.
While she hadn’t registered a business then, Ledwaba utilised The Sanctuary of Hope foundation as a platform for the women to sell their cakes and scones. To showcase their creations, she created a Facebook page called The BreadBox. It garnered attention and received orders from customers eager to support the trained ladies.
Ledwaba’s efforts yielded positive outcomes, as some women she trained secured employment opportunities thanks to their newfound skills. Recognising the growing demand and profit potential, she registered The BreadBox Bakery and Studio in 2017. She secured a facility in Midrand to accommodate the expansion.
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Today, The BreadBox Bakery and Studio specialises in various bakery products, including croissants, bread rolls, cakes, and desserts. It has created over 25 jobs, with 13 permanent employees and five casual staff members contributing to the bakery’s success.
The impact of the business extends beyond employment, as it has provided workplace training opportunities for approximately 60 students from culinary schools. Ledwaba understands the importance of offering opportunities to aspiring individuals, having experienced the challenges of being denied them herself. Currently, six students are undertaking their internships with The BreadBox Company.
Moreover, The BreadBox Bakery and Studio offers corporate catering, baking and cooking classes for children, and brand activations, further diversifying its offerings and engaging with the community.
As a proud member of Proudly South African, Ledwaba’s business has gained exposure. Its products are in retail stores across Gauteng, including Spar, Meat World, and Makro Marketplace. The support from organisations like Proudly South African and the assistance from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) in getting the products approved by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has contributed to the bakery’s success and reach.
With July being Nelson Mandela Month, Matlhogonolo Ledwaba exemplifies the spirit of kindness and service that can change the world. The BreadBox Bakery and Studio shows how much a person can do for their community.
You can learn more about The BreadBox Bakery at their website at www.thebreadboxbakery.co.za. Contact them at 011 029 8434/ 010 221 1052 or [email protected]. For additional information about Proudly South African, visit www.proudlysa.co.za, and for details about SABS, visit [email protected]. To explore the services provided by Seda, visit www.seda.org.za or call 0860 663 7867. Connect with The BreadBox Bakery and Studio on Facebook.
Visit The BreadBox Bakery and Studio at Shop B5 & 11, Carlswald Décor Center, Corner of Harry Gallaun & Fifth Road Halfway Gardens, Midrand, to experience their delicious baked goods and support their impactful work in the community.
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