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New app to boost spaza shops in Alex Print E-mail
07 June 2017

An emerging Johannesburg information technology company has developed an application that will enable owners of spaza in Alexandra, in the City of Joburg’s Region E to qualify for generous discounts from suppliers when they buy their stock in bulk – improving their profitability in the process.

The Vuleka app, developed by I AM Emerge was launched at Sankopano Hall in Alexandra on Saturday, 27 May. It aggregates orders for bulk purchases for spaza shops and other small businesses in Alexandra.

Vuleka can be loosely translated as “open up” in isiZulu.

I AM Emerge Marketing Manager Oscar Monama says already more than 80 small businesses in Alexandra have signed up. Their orders were immediately sent to various suppliers for processing.

Monama says the app will not only make life easier for small businesses in Alexandra but will also help to address unemployment in the township.

A number of unemployed youth have been roped in as marketers. They will visit various outlets to take orders and empower businesses on disciplines such as stock and product management.

Monama has called on small businesses to forge unity among themselves. “Saturday was about putting a credibility pose behind the app so people know about it. When our young marketers go to them it won't be anything new. It would have been explained to them. Our marketers also know where to go to,” he said.

“There are, however, a lot of trust issues involved because any company can go in and promise the whole world but not deliver. We are saying we are here and we know what we are doing and what we want to achieve – seeing more businesses become sustainable. They will be able to compete on price and have longevity, instead of them shutting down after two or three months,” said Monama.

Manufacturers attending the launch included the Kew-based Katso Juice and SUZ Food Brands, a Pretoria-based company specialising in the manufacture of potato chips.

The City's Regional Director, Liziwe Makoro, said the Vuleka app would add value to small businesses in the region, particularly in Alexandra.

“Our role as the City is to facilitate a climate in which partnerships can be concretised. We are, therefore, excited that this innovation has come to our shores. This is in line with one of the City’s mayoral priorities of encouraging innovation and efficiency through programmes such as Smart City. It is also aligned to our efforts to achieve a minimum of 5% economic growth by 2021,” said Makoro.
Offering support at the launch were the Jozi SME Hub and Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

I AM Emerge hopes to expand the app to areas such as Tembisa and Soweto. For now its focus is on establishing a footprint in Alexandra.

In March it won the second prize in Best Innovator category of the Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence Awards.

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Last Updated on 07 June 2017