A chemical engineer by profession, Mpho Mohaswa left her job in the oil & gas industry to pursue entrepreneurship. Along the way, she founded Precious and Pearl Brands, a beverage company which manufactures a non-alcoholic ginger beer concentrate, Ghemere.
Growing up in the small town of Burgersfort in Limpopo, Mpho watched her mother and grandmother working hard to perfect the taste of ginger beer, and used this childhood experience to make Ghemere a household brand that can be enjoyed at any time.
“My corporate job was demanding a lot of travelling and as I was trying to build a family life, that didn’t work for me. I wanted something that will allow me family time and to work flexible hours, so starting a business just made sense.”
She ditched her corporate job as a business developer at Air Liquide in 2017, and decided to start a business after spotting a gap in the market.
She always had the ginger beer idea, but it was just that, an idea. So in order to bring the idea to life, she had to go through a phase of trial&error that took about six months — mixing and perfecting the formula in her home garage.
To test the waters on how people were gonna receive the product, she conducted a sample giveaway in her community, and received feedback, which she then used to improve the taste until she finally got the formula that most people liked.
She officially registered the company and started selling.
Through word-of-mouth, the business grew quickly, and its operations were moved from a garage to a fully fledged facility which has a number of employees.
In September 2019, she came in first place at the inaugural Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge, and walked away with R50 000 prize money, business training and media exposure for the brand.
Ghemere landed its first spot on a retail shelf at Food Lover’s Market, after Mpho doorstopped a store manager with its samples. After gaining success from the Food Lover’s Market deal, she used it as leverage to acquire retail shelf space at the likes of Spar, Shoprite, Makro and Takealot.
The company is currently working on introducing a line of flavours for the beverage including mango & orange, strawberry, apple, and pineapple.
Start where you are with what you have. Ask for help and remember life is never a straight line.Mpho’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
Get South Africa’s latest entrepreneurial or business success stories delivered right to your inbox — Sign up to Entrepreneur Hub SA’s newsletter today ⬇️⬇️⬇️