Recognising a need in society to help young girls to learn essential life skills and get access to inspirational mentors, was the catalyst for two South African entrepreneurs to create their social enterprise, Nik Muffins, to make a difference. Tinyiko Mareane and Boitumelo Mogoai are turning a passion for baking into a means of raising funds to build a sustainable and effective social enterprise with a big impact.
LoA spoke to Tinyiko and Boitumelo this month to find out more about this creative enterprise that is positively changing the lives of young girls in South Africa.
What does your company do?
Nik Muffins is a Social Enterprise which sells muffins and customised cupcakes and cakes. We also use a portion of our profits to assist a group of girls in Soweto by teaching them life skills, giving them access to mentorship, and providing them with useful information they are unable to access.
"When we initially started we were a group of students thinking back to our first few years of University and remembering how hard it was for us to get certain things done, merely because we did not have accurate or the right information and guidance from people who have been through the process."
What inspired you to start your company?
When we initially started we were a group of students thinking back to our first few years of University and remembering how hard it was for us to get certain things done, merely because we did not have access to accurate or the right information and guidance from people who have been through the process. We then thought of a sustainable way to address the issue that promotes a culture of independence. Baking was a passion we used to raise funds so that we could develop our social program. We then decided to create a business out of it and use a portion of our profits to address this social need for mentorship, life-skills and information.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Our products do not only taste good, but they bring a unique personal experience to the consumer because they are customized and also when consuming our products you know your money has gone to a greater purpose. We are a brand with a purpose, baking for change.
"Baking was a passion we used to raise funds so that we could develop our social program. We then decided to create a Business out of it and use a portion of our profits to address this social need for mentorship, life skills and information."
Tell us a little about your team
We are currently two co-founders - myself and my partner Boitumelo Mogoai, who is currently completing her Accounting Degree at Wits University. We are responsible for running the business, as well as the baking for now. We have hired two University students as re-sellers and are currently looking for more re-sellers to assist with the distribution of our products to students.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My journey has been one of learning. I have learned things about myself that I couldn't have learned any other way. Mostly it has been a journey of self discovery. My parents ran small businesses on the side and the same with my grandparents. However, I decided to use my degree to enhance my business rather than to seek employment. I believe it's a great risk but I am very brave and it's a risk I am willing to take, and a goal I will fight to achieve no matter what.
"We are a brand with a purpose, baking for change."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We would like to grow in South Africa and have Nik Muffins Girls Clubs in all provinces where there is a need. We also want to be able to reach out to the rest of Africa and one day expand to the rest of the world.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
It satisfies me knowing that I am actively contributing to solving a big problem in our country which is unemployment. When I was doing my Economics degree, I realized I don't want to write about the issues and solutions to help better the economy, I want actively solve them, and it’s the most fulfilling thing to know that you are serving not only your country, but your continent.
"We would like to grow in South Africa and have Nik Muffins Girls Clubs in all provinces where there is a need."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Do not give up no matter what. Fight for your dreams. When people can't do something, they want to tell you that you can't. Don't let them. You made a promise to yourself to succeed, so be a woman of your word to yourself.
Contact or follow Nik Muffins
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA we love those social entrepreneurs who are passionate about making a difference, harnessing their skills and talents to create enterprises that can connect with consumers and at the same time get key messages across that can change lives. Tinyiko Mareane and Boitumelo Mogoai are two social entrepreneurs on a mission to uplift the lives and futures of young women in South Africa, harnessing their talents for baking and creativity to help them achieve their goals. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa