Refiloe Rantekoa is a young entrepreneur from Soweto who operates Borotho Bakery, known for selling bread at very affordable prices for the community. The business began in the back room of his grandfather’s house, where Refiloe would bake and sell a meagre twenty loaves a day at first. Now, Borotho Bakery sells around 500 loaves of bread every single day, still at an affordable price, while also having created employment for five additional people. This growth was explosive, to say the least, and Rantekoa had to exhibit considerable ingenuity when meeting this demand, even using shopping carts as a delivery mechanism to keep their clients satisfied. The story of Rantekoa and Borotho Bakery spread quickly and soon enough Thomson’s Reuters, an international news agency, came to document this small yet smart business operating in the heart of Soweto.
His story clearly points to the source of his business acumen.
“I was raised by my grandmother, she taught me how to sell when I was just 8 years old. I had to sell fat cakes every morning before I went to school and maize at the bus stop every day after school… Therefore the confidence and the spirit of what I do had been instilled in me from a very young age.”
Given his background, the success of Borotho Bakery is a testament to the strength of Rantekoa’s character. Having weathered such harsh circumstances growing up, he’s giving back to his community through the Borotho Foundation, which will provide clothes, stationery, and other necessities to underprivileged children. Refiloe exhibits the qualities of a great entrepreneur, having been chosen by the Township Entrepreneur Awards as the Best Start-Up Business of 2018 as well as personally being awarded young entrepreneur of the year, as well as a life-changing philanthropic force in his community. Driven by his vision of creating a business that will inspire others to follow his footsteps, he’s a role model to young South Africans everywhere, regardless of their circumstances.
As he says himself, “The hunger to make, to build, and to inspire is something that will remain long after our time has passed.”