My name is Xander. I was raised to be proud and independent – to stand on my own two feet and to offer help where it is needed, but to never ask for it myself. Being here and asking for your help is, therefore, not easy for me to do. What finally got me this far was a quote that a friend sent to me: Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it. So, this is me: being brave! I hope you will take the time to read my story.
I am a 31-year-old South African. I was fortunate enough to find work after I finished school. I worked for a couple of small businesses and, although I didn’t earn much, I managed to keep my head above water. I considered myself one of the lucky ones, because at least I was employed during a time when more and more of my friends were losing theirs due to the economic climate. And then, 3 years ago, I myself became part of those unemployment statistics.
It was tough, because this time I did not manage to find another job. I got by doing odd jobs here and there while looking for work, but I soon realised exactly what it meant for young people when a country’s unemployment rate is close to 30%. I’ve always dreamt of having my own business “one day”, but my dire situation made me realise that “one day” had to come sooner than expected. After doing some research and making a few contacts, I decided to start selling street food at car shows, legal drag racing events and a few markets.
I’ve had quite a few successful events and have learnt a lot about the business: what works and what doesn’t. One set of hands was not enough and it made me feel really good to offer a friend, who lost his job one month after the birth of his first child, the opportunity to at least earn a part-time income. Unfortunately, a few gigs here and there, are not nearly enough to support both of us financially and I am at a point where I will have to go bigger or go home.
Going bigger means buying a food trailer. At the moment we are limited to selling our food at a few events where food stands/stalls are provided. Most event organisers require food sellers to bring their own food trailer or truck. Having a food trailer will not only open the door to more events for us, but it will also allow us to sell food on a daily basis at markets and in our own town and to generate a stable income.
I am passionate about good food and I am determined to make a success of my venture, but I need help to get my business to the next level. At present I have the opportunity to buy a very good pre-owned food trailer from a restauranteur, but I will need R35000 (approximately 2500 US dollars) in addition to what I can scrape together myself to make the purchase. I have 5 months to raise the funds and that is where your contributions will make a difference.
When looking at the world around me I realize that there are people who are much worse off than me and more deserving of your help, but I am not in a position to qualify for a decent bank loan and I am a classic example of “you need money to make money”. What you should know is that I am a firm believer in paying it forward. I am therefore committed to pay your kindness forward by:
· working hard to make your contributions, no matter how big or small, money well spent;
· supporting small, local businesses wherever I can;
· keeping my carbon footprint as small as possible in order to be kind to the environment;
· employing the unemployed when I need extra hands to give other unemployed people the opportunity to provide for their loved ones;
· treating anyone who works for me and my customers with fairness and respect;
· not wasting food, by donating unused food to local charities and food scraps to farmers;
· always having a generous spirit and reaching out to my community wherever I can.
You should also know that I have done my homework. I have a business plan and I have the necessary permits to sell food in place. My menu is set and my suppliers are in place. I have permission to sell food at various events and a few local businesses on the condition that I bring my own food trailer. I have determination to succeed, lots of initiative and a go-getter attitude. I just need a little financial assistance to transform my venture from two guys selling rib rolls from a tent to a professional food business.
Your help will really make a difference to my life and those around me. Thank you in advance!