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It is no secret that the global COVID-19 crisis has hit multiple sectors hard. As we adjust, the City of Cape Town and the Enterprise and Investment Department recognises the importance of assisting businesses in bouncing back. Economic inclusion is prioritised, and building resilient, sustainable businesses is a key to unlocking that goal.

Recently, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, along with the Director of the Enterprise and Investment Department, Lance Greyling, visited a number of local businesses as part of the City’s Business Retention and Expansion Programme.

In the last couple of weeks, I have visited a variety of businesses, including Khayelitsha Cookies in Parow, to discern how best we can assist local SMME’s to emerge from this crisis. It is imperative that we understand the concerns and obstacles flagged by businesses in distress, in order to identify viable action plans and respond quickly.

Our discussions were fruitful and I look forward in assisting these businesses to remain sustainable and even expand their operations so that more jobs can be created. – Alderman James Vos

For MD and co-owner of Khayelitsha Cookies, Adri Williams, the lockdown regulations have been notably tough on business. Valuable income streams comprised of various sectors including hospitality, schools, hospitals, offices and retail stores, have become strained. With the hospitality sector in particular having contributed 65% of Khayelitsha Cookies’ business, a key concern here is keeping the 96-women-strong team employed and their trade afloat.

Every crumb counts

Khayelitsha Cookies has been in operation since 2005 and creates meaningful jobs for previously unemployed women from communities such as Khayelitsha. The Food Safety accredited facility produces up to 70,000 cookies every day, is 51% black-owned, over 90% female-owned, and employees have a 30% shareholding in the business. What’s more, this proudly South African confections company produces customer-branded products such as their cookie and rusk range with Purity, and is gearing up to launch a range in the US market.

In addition to creating inclusive and uplifting employment opportunities, Khayelitsha Cookies upholds environmental and social commitments too. All salvageable waste generated onsite is recycled and they use 100% recyclable packaging materials for their products, rain water is harvested to reduce their use of potable water, and they upkeep onsite veggie gardens that staff are free to harvest and take home. The team is also hands-on with fundraising and outreach projects, such as assisting farmers impacted by the 2016 and 2019 droughts, as well as supporting orphanages, soup kitchens, and women’s organisations in need of sponsorship and funding.

According to Williams, success for her is employing women and witnessing their expressions when they’re empowered with a salary that can be used to support themselves and their families.

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