Interview: Benzi Kuzwayo of Keki Patisserie

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Benzi Kuzwayo is the founder and CEO of the confectionery startup, Keki Patisseries. Her current business has won the best pitch at the HookUp Dinner and was part of the SAB KickStarter programme. She has been profiled in a number of print and radio stations including YFM and Destiny Magazine. However, I am most impressed by the fact that she started and ran her own spaza (she calls it a “coffee shop”) for 4 years while she was studying BCom Finance at the University of Johannesburg.

The KZN born but Pretoria raised business woman decided to sit down with me and discuss her thoughts on her business and entrepreneurship… but not before talking some play first.

Q: Who are your Top 3 Celebrity Crushes?

  1. Akin Amatoso
  2. Will Smith
  3. Usher

Q: What will be your first indulgence with your first $1,000,000?

A muscle car. Black Mustang. I love vintage collectables.

Q: Tell us about your current business?

Keki is a confectionary startup, we sell desserts and cup cakes… moving into cakes very soon.

Q: What do you love most about running your own business and what’s torture about it?

Everything is my creation, I love the process and the creativity. The torture is the admin. I do the baking and the business management, which is a tough thing to balance.

Q: Single greatest strength that has contributed to your success? Single greatest weakness that you’ve succeeded in spite of?

Greatest strength is the personal touch I add to each cup cake :). And weakness is the lack of industry experience.

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Q: What do you consider to be the greatest misconception that people have about running your own business?

That it’s not all rosy and easy. Unfortunately it isn’t, everything begins and ends with you.

Q: Where do South African entrepreneurs drop the ball?

South African entrepreneurs drop the ball by not raising the bar, we think too small and don’t realise that we are playing on the global landscape.

Q: If I was minister of Small Business Development, I would…

Make sure that all people that work in my ministry have some experience as entrepreneurs. Currently all policies and interventions are being created by people that are NOT entrepreneurs which means that the suggested solutions may miss their target market. At the very least have a “Board of Entrepreneurs” from which to brainstorm solutions and interventions with.

Thank you for your time MsBenzi, we will be watching this space.

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