Many entrepreneurs have an epiphany moment when they decide to create their business ventures, and for South African entrepreneur, Mmabatho (Portia) Morudi, that moment came in the form of bees. Inspired by her grandfather, she moved into the world of bee farming and honey production initially, driven by a passion to use her knowledge and expertise in bee keeping to assist local economic development and food security challenges. Today her business, The Village Market SA, is so much more than the sum of its parts.
LoA met with the inspirational Portia Morudi, to find out more….
What does your company do?
The Village Market SA is an emporia of village produce and products. Our offering ranges from raw honey, preserves and veggie crates delivered to homes. We set up bee farms in rural communities to assist farmers with bee pollination which improves their crops and yields and once their produce is ready we buy it and beautifully package it in wooden crates and deliver to homes, wellness centres and companies.
"My inspiration to start my business came from knowing that I'm able to make a difference in my community and in the world."
What inspired you to start your company?
Following a career in education management which lasted around 8 years, in September 2012 I decided to resign from my job as a Candidate Registrar at a business school, following my grandfather's invitation to join him for a course in bee farming. This move opened up a whole new world for me. It entailed understanding that South Africa has a short supply of good quality honey and that the bees are endangered, therefore threatening food security globally. It also made me appreciate that bees could be a good source of improving the lives of rural farmers through bee pollination. My inspiration to start my business came from knowing that I'm able to make a difference in my community and in the world. I was simply tired of sitting behind a desk knowing very well I had so much more to offer and to do, in order to positively impact the world.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
All our products form part of an ecosystem that tackles vast social ills from the environment, food security, unemployment, poverty and nutrition. They are organic and talk to sustainability.
"South Africa has a short supply of good quality honey and the bees are endangered, therefore threatening food security globally."
Tell us a little about your team
The Village Market is made up of a team of 5 people - the company’s founders, Portia and Desmond Morudi, and 3 permanent general workers. During planting and harvesting periods, we employ an additional 4 more women from the community.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become an entrepreneur, but looking back now I realize that my grandfather, Dr Sam Motsuenyane, who is an avid farmer and businessman, has played a pivotal role in my decision to pursue the entrepreneurial journey. We used to have long conversations about how entrepreneurship and agriculture were sustainable vehicles to eradicating poverty, especially in our rural communities.Though my career took off in Education, taking on a role as Candidate registrar, it was laying a foundation for me to start my own business.
"We are hoping to transform one rural community at a time throughout Africa as a result of our bee farms and veggie crates model, and to develop The Village Market into a global market of African village produce and products."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We are hoping to transform one rural community at a time throughout Africa as a result of our bee farms and veggie crates model, and to develop The Village Market into a global market of African village produce and products.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Our satisfaction is in knowing that through our business we are playing our part in making the world a better place for future generations.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Playing small does not serve the world.
Contact or follow The Village Market SA
Why LoA loves it….
Who would have thought that bees could be the inspiration for an amazing entrepreneurial journey to start, but in the case of Portia Morudi, those beautiful and highly industrious insects have helped to create an exciting sustainable business model that is set to grow. The Village Market SA not only celebrates the finest raw produce that the country produces in the form of organic honey, but breathes new life into a community in need of socio-economic and environmental solutions. Portia and her company are great examples of sustainable entrepreneurship in action. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa