Zuzie and Lucy bond over batter to create success
Batter Master, based in Alberton in Gauteng, produces an instant batter which is used to coat fish before it is fried.
It has been a lifelong dream of Zuzie Van De Venter to become an entrepreneur. So, after a 15-year career in the food industry, she and her husband bought Batter Master from a family friend in 2006.
"I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to improve people's lives in my community by empowering them," says Zuzie.
"At the time (in 2006) instant batter was a product that was not readily available in the South African market. We knew that it would help businesses save time and money, as well as aid with consistency throughout franchises or chains."
When they took over Batter Master, they only had the batter recipe and no clientele.
"We started out by blending the ingredients for the instant batter in our garage at home which we turned into a small factory and began supplying small fish and chips shops until we started supplying batter to Shoprite and Checkers in Gauteng in 2013," Zuzie continues.
"We started supplying around three tonnes per month to Shoprite and Checkers in Gauteng. Today we supply 20 to 30 tonnes of batter a month to Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets across South Africa."
The batter is used to coat baby hake prior to frying it at the in-store deli's.
"Our relationship with the Shoprite Group has aided us to expand not only our staff complement but also our facilities and factory. We currently have five full-time employees and Lucy Ledwaba, my former domestic worker, is the factory manager," says Zuzie.
The business growth has helped to accomplish her first and primary goal of aiding her staff and helping them to improve their quality of life.
"Batter can be used on a host of other products, not just fish, so we're exploring mixing different sorts of batter for different products to grow our business even more," explains.
Her advice for other would-be entrepreneurs?
"Anything is possible with determination, commitment and hard work. Believe in yourself and remain focussed - persistence and perseverance are vital to being successful."
Lucy says her position at Batter Master has enabled her to not only put food on the table, but pay for college and school fees, as well as care for her extended family.
"I started working for Zuzie more than 10 years ago, in 2009, as a domestic worker. I always went into the garage to take Suzie a cup of coffee or see if I could help, because I wanted to learn," Lucy remembers.
"This opportunity has changed my life. I never thought I would be here today, but you must always be willing to learn. The journey of change isn't always easy and can take a long time, but remain focussed on your goals and always believe in yourself."