An enterprising young man from Nswazwi village has found a niche market in mobile kitchen manufacturing.
Batisanyi Mbiganyi, 29, decided to go establish a mobile kitchen making business after he realised that many caterers needed to take food to where their customers are instead of having their customers follow them.
Tucked away by the Monarch cemetery, at the industrial area is Batisani Mbiganyi’s busy workshop, Demabe Steel Engineering.
Explaining how the inspiration to produce kitchens got him, Mbiganyi said he was specialising in production of burglar doors and trailers when a customer came in with a request for a mobile kitchen to be built for him.
“It came as a challenge as the man asked for me to do something that I had never done before. We had to sit down, sketch it and see if I could do it.”
Through word of mouth from that first splendid job, people started placing orders for mobile kitchens and Mbiganyi slightly drifted from what he had been doing before and focused on Kitchen production as his core business.
“We operate from Monday to Sunday from 8am until 5pm in the afternoon but we can also work on Sundays when it is busy,” said the young businessman who currently employs three people.
The young man said he was spurred by his dismal academic performance at form three to go into blue-collar work.
“After failing my form three exams I went to Madirelo Trade Centre where I studied welding and fabrication up to trade B. From there I worked at Matsiloje Sinkshaft Company and mine. I then left the job and ventured into business because the money I was getting paid was not even enough for me to eke out a decent life in the village,” he said.
Although he could not reveal his monthly turnover, Mbiganyi said that his charges were decided by the size of the kitchen and on whether the customer would bring their own material or not?
“A small mobile kitchen with the customer providing their own production material would cost P12 000 while a bigger is priced at P25 000. I prefer that my customers supply their own material to cut down the charges,” Mbiganyi explained.
Production of a small kitchen at Demabe Steel Engineering takes a week while a bigger one takes two weeks to finish.
Mbiganyi said his customers are Batswana and mostly women.
His challenges include stiff competition from Zimbabwean artisans in the same line of business and customers who don’t want to refer other people to him because they fear competition in the catering business.
“Other challenges are lack of electricity in our workshop and exorbitant rentals at P3000 00 per month but with no electricity,” said Mbiganyi with a worried face.