KEETMANSHOOP – What started as a part-time hobby has developed into a well-established and fully-fledged bakery, providing fresh bread daily to residents of the Aus settlement.
According to Maria Vlees (57), owner of Goretti’s Bakery, she initially started baking bread in an old wooden oven at home for the community upon request.
“This, however, became very tiring for me, which prompted me to seek financial assistance in order to construct a bakery and use modern baking equipment,’’ she explained. The entrepreneur added she then started constructing the bakery from money generated from sales, whereafter she approached the Anglo American Foundation Namibia for funding to complete the building.
“They approved my application with the result that I finished the construction in 2013,” said Vlees. She continued that more financial assistance, amounting to N$57 000 from the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade enabled her to install modern equipment like electric stoves and dough mixers in the bakery. “This means that since 2014, I have been able to bake more than 100 loaves of bread daily, selling it to the community as a means of income and also to pay the salary of the baker I employed,’’ said Vlees. She added the Multipurpose Centre in town also places additional orders for bread when needed, providing much-needed additional income.
Vlees then explained the cumbersome process of obtaining good standing certificates (tax, social security) and short-notice orders from government institutions as her biggest challenge to increase production or expand her business.
“Sometimes, the police or correctional services want to place orders – but by the time I received my good standing documents, the time-frame of delivering already expired,” she lamented. The entrepreneur concluded her business is flourishing and she intends to extend with the addition of a take away in the near future.