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Hugo: Sekulula Spaza Express

Hugo is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and arrived in South Africa in 2001. He has been working as a delivery man for several restaurants. In December 2010, Hugo benefited from the opportunity to start his own delivery service (Sekulula Spaza Express) through a Reciprocity pilot project aimed at understanding the spazas’ needs and expectations. Typically, a spaza owner will close down their store to pick up goods at the wholesalers, wasting time and money. Hugo’s services enable spaza owners to keep their stores open while he picks up goods from the wholesalers. Hugo’s business has potential for growth, but many challenges have to be addressed to open this market.

Recommendations & Results

Operation and procedures

Hugo used to spend a lot of time at the wholesaler buying goods for his customers. To maximize efficiency, the students suggested that he fax the orders to the wholesaler and upon arrival they would be ready for pick-up. This improved Hugo’s ability to deliver, but a closer collaboration with the wholesalers is crucial.

Security and mobile money banking

Hugo delivers in unsafe areas and carrying lots of cash can make him a target for robbery. He considers mobile banking to be the best solution to transfer money from the spaza to wholesalers, as well as to get paid for his deliveries.


The students provided Hugo with advertising tools such as flyers to introduce Sekulula Spaza Express to spaza owners. To establish brand recognition, they also created a logo for Hugo’s tuk tuk.

Going further...

Hugo only has 2 000R in disposable cash and he has to pre-pay the wholesalers, which limits the number of deliveries he can do per day. Also, Hugo is struggling with his operational costs (ex. insurance, petrol) and works as a delivery man to generate more income to cover these costs. Despite the pilot project ending, Hugo is continuing with his business and would be able to reach 7 to 10 deliveries a day if he had 5000R on hand. As a foreigner, this is a challenge for Hugo since he does not have access to loans.


There are many spaza shop owners interested in Hugo’s service, such as Ma Bertha. There has created demand in the market and oftentimes BOP entrepreneurs face difficult barriers when it comes to meeting that demand, such as access to capitol and technology.  Could the use of technology and ICT play a part in solutions to improve and accelerate Hugo’s cash flow issues? Can ICT companies offer mobile technology solutions in BOP and help entrepreneurs, like Hugo, meet a demand in the market?

Fast Facts

> 2 employees

> Main Income stream: fridge repair and the resale of second hand fridges


> Lack of space to store fridges

> Security problems: Thieves break in to steal fridges and their parts

> Needs finances to buy additional equipment