Grand-Pa empowers business owners through the Spaza academy

Grand-Pa Spaza expands the horizons of Gauteng’s township economy


According to Investec, the informal sector, also known as the township economy, accounts for an estimated 17% of South Africa’s total employment. The township economy includes small businesses such as hair salons, car washes, spaza shops and many others.

“These small businesses in townships are often the backbone of the communities they function in and the lifeline to numerous families,” says, Kanyisa Qhutywa Grand-PA Brand Manager.

In efforts to invest in the growth of this vital industry by developing spaza shops and small businesses, Grand-Pa launched their Spaza Academy in 2013. The Grand-Pa Spaza Academy aims to empower the business owners and aid them in establishing sustainable and healthy finances.

Patience Radzilane (31), spaza academy graduate, started her Diepkloof-based spaza over a year ago. “I resigned from my job due to personal reasons, and after that, I was unemployed and needed an income, so I decided to start my business.”

For her, taking part in the academy helped her grow her business. “The Academy has helped me develop a business model for my spaza. I can now confidently market my business and help my community through employment. I can proudly say I now employ one person, which brings me great joy.”

Echoing Radzilane’s sentiments, Ayanda Nkosi (39) agrees that the academy was incredibly valuable. “Before I joined the Spaza academy, I was not budgeting properly. I was just selling products and taking money without keeping a sales record. I learned a lot about managing business finances, budgeting, and advertising through the program,” says Nkosi.

Nkosi runs a fast-food tuckshop based in Katlehong, which has been operating for more than two years. She started her business because she saw a gap in the market. “I moved to a different community and saw they did not have a tuckshop, so I started one. Through her spaza, Nkosi feeds a six-person family and employs three people. “The academy taught me to employ people to uplift my community.”

Nkosi and Radzilane would recommend that small business owners join the academy. “At the academy, small business owners can connect with people who can advise them on all sorts of things relating to business, that are not easy to find. The academy is a great opportunity to learn and opens your mind to new ways of doing things,” Nkosi says.

“Through this academy, business owners have the rare opportunity to learn from people who know what they’re doing. Join this course. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” says Radzilane.