BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Spetzo’s Pizza
When starting a business, like most things in life, things may not go as you had initially hoped for. Teboho Nchaba had a business idea with the hope that it will be located at a shopping complex, however when that didn’t happen Spetzo Pizza started operating not too far from his home, by the main road. 11 months later he has secured 2 locations to operate his business.
Spetzo’s Pizza sells wood fired pizza baked from a brick oven. Lesotho’s mainstream pizza market is dominated by established franchisees that use electric oven and are located in large shopping centres. Wood fired pizza could only be found in a few hotels and high-end restaurants at very high prices. Spetzo’s identified the gap in the market and decided to enter the mainstream market with a product that is typically found at selected and exclusive restaurants. And so, the business offers reasonably priced oven baked pizza that is accessible to the mass market.
“One of our key elements was to ensure a very localised creative theme which saw us receive an overwhelming positive response from our customers. Many people were excited over the idea of what they termed ‘street/village pizza’.”
Spetzo’s primary target market is the middle class individuals and families that live in the city. Having a clear target market is crucial for any business as it would allow an entrepreneur to offer products or services that are relevant to that particular segment of the market. They are currently located in two districts, with one outlet in Ha Foso, Berea and another at the Sefika Shopping complex in Maseru.
Additional to the 2 kitchens, Spetzo’s has another distribution channel that is currently gaining traction around the world for small businesses, especially artisan businesses: a pop-up restaurant. They use a mobile oven for events and other locations within Maseru city.
Nchaba, a graduate from Limkokwing University Lesotho, has always had a deep desire to do something. “I have always liked pizza, and I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to get into the business with relatively very little capital,” he said.
This opportunity required funding and a suitable location to be executed. Using his savings from his scholarship and small loans from friends he eventually started the business, operating by the main road. Before securing the locations they currently operate in, Spetzo’s initially, operated from under a gazebo – with the oven built on a trailer, wind and rainy weather were a great challenge for operations. They have since built a kitchen with steel and shatter boards, which has made operations much easier during bad weather.
The entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one, however sometimes the little bit of recognition or appreciation one may receive for their efforts can serve as a motivator to continue with one’s dream. Nchaba says one of his highlight moments since he started Spetzo’s was when a customer approached him and told him that his Economics class at university uses Spetzo’s as a case study for innovation within the entrepreneurship landscape in Lesotho. The student said they were encouraged to emulate Spetzo’s way of thinking – innovative and creative thinking.
“This was great to hear because it meant to some extent we are contributing to the shifting and shaping of young minds of our country to realise that there is a lot of room for them in running businesses and creating employment, instead of predominately being job seekers.”
He did however highlight that start-ups could use with some support to kick-start and grow. He says the lack of development banks in Lesotho makes it difficult for small business and entrepreneurs with potential business ideas to access funding, and commercial banks have shown little interest in assisting start-ups. He admits that most start-ups fail because they operate informally and one way to circumvent this barrier is by encouraging the notion of coaching and mentorship by seasoned business men and women for upcoming entrepreneurs.
Spetzo’s intends to grow gradually, using resources available to the business at various stages they plan to open up at least one branch in all the districts of Lesotho and eventually expand by franchising to the rest of the African, progressively from the Southern Africa region.