At 16, Sihle became the sole provider in his family. He worked as a gardener and looked after his siblings, taking additional work where he could find it. And then one day, everything changed. A job serving coffee led to an offer to train at the Ciro Coffee Academy – an opportunity Sihle grabbed with both hands, obtaining a comprehensive International Barista Certificate.
But Sihle didn’t stop there. Today he owns a small chain of coffee shops and also distributes his own brand of coffee beans through a few major retail chains. He also trains baristas, giving them a love for coffee and customer service that changes their careers as well. In fact, coffee sales at one of his clients’ restaurants shot up five times in just a month after he’d trained their staff.
Like so many of the stories we share on the Small Business Showcase, Sihle’s journey is one of partnerships, from the first barista who recognised his potential to the first corporate who partnered with Sihle and gave him a space to open his first coffee shop. Now, Sihle has the opportunity to work with Pick n Pay and bring his different flavours to the whole country.
What we love most about Sihle’s story is his dedication to learning however. “When I first started running my business we’d make good sales and yet I never had any money in my bank account at the end of the year. My statements would show me that I’d made R500 000, but there would be nothing to show for it,” he shares.
Sihle didn’t accept the gaps in his financial knowledge though. Instead, he stepped away from the day to day operations of his business to focus on the future at enrolled at GIBS, where he learnt proper costings, financial management and what it takes to build a successful and sustainable business.
Watch the full video and share Sihle’s inspiring story here.
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