Biking delivery company clinches first runner-up position at Intervarsity 2023

Published On: 14 February 2024|

Mr Colin Mkosi, Founder of a delivery company called Cloudy Deliveries asked the audience at the Intervarsity 2023 finals if they had ever wondered how ‘Uncle Cyril’ (President Ramaphosa) ordered his online deliveries.

He then flashed a smiling President onto a screen with this message: Cloudy Deliveries is testament to the power of a good idea.

The 4th year LLB student from the University of the Western Cape, who calls Langa home, explained the rationale behind his company – to employ youngsters from his township, and to make money.

His business idea was chosen as a first runner-up in the Social Impact category, winning him R10 000.

“In 2020, we had a problem: young people had nothing to do, and restaurants could not deliver food to its customers. And so Cloudy Deliveries was born, a Delivery Service like Uber Eats — only running on bicycles.”

First runner-up in the Existing Business: Social Impact category, Mr Colin Mkosi (left) flaunts his prize, supported by Ms Itumeleng Dhlamini, Social Innovation Specialist at SA Breweries and Mr Benathi Makiyela, who emerged as 2nd runner-up in the Existing Business: Social Impact category during Intervarsity 2022

Business model

Customers order on WhatsApp, and the automated bot takes the shopping list and passes the details on. These orders are then bicycle delivered. Customers are happy to support young unemployed youth and, in the process, receive a much-needed service.

According to Mkosi, around 250 young unemployed Langa youngsters have, to date, done over 10 000 bike deliveries.

“Our business is like a bicycle: it has two pedals; social impact and profit. Social Impact allows us to change the lives of the young people we work with.

“We charge a delivery rate of between R20 and R60. We also have an in-house mechanic who maintains the bicycles and partners with organisations who help us generate income.” At the time of the competition finals, Mkosi said Cloudy Deliveries was still learning how to pedal the bike.

“We need funding to buy more bikes and improve our automated bot for expansion,” Mkosi went on to explain. “We also need a fence to secure our business premises.”

Judges’ questions

Judge Matshego, Head: Investment Readiness: How much are you making? And what does expansion mean for how much you make?

Response: We make R60 000 a month. We want to expand to other Western Cape communities: Nyanga and Gugulethu.

Judge Duduzile Mathabela: How do you navigate using bicycles during extreme weather? Also how many employees do you have and how do you pay them?

Response: Bikes and scooters are a challenge. We give our guys jackets. Our business peaks in bad weather – that is when our customers request deliveries the most. We have 15 delivery men and six management staff. We split the delivery fee 60:40.

Judge Naledi Gallant: Do you provide bicycles or do the youth bring their own? Have you considered outsourcing that to them?

Response: At the moment we provide the bikes. When we expand, we want to allow people to use their own bicycles and use our WhatsApp automated bots.

Judge Kwezi Fudu Cenenda, Enterprise Development Director, Avo Vision: How does scaling look like? Where do you capture economies of scale?

Response: The more we expand, the higher our costs will rise. Currently our costs are salaries and maintaining the bikes.

Judge Miles Kubheka, CEO of Wakanda Food Accelerator, Entrepreneur: Do you have electric bicycles? How do you deal with townships – some houses have no addresses or street names.

Response: We have considered electric bikes and currently have five.  We mitigate the challenge of the absence of addresses and street names by specifically employing individuals from those areas. They can find you even if you live in an informal settlement.

Judge Pierre Becker, CEO of Skeg (a technical facility offering space for inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs to nurture their ideas into successful start-ups.) Which bikes are more profitable, between traditional bikes and electric bikes?

Response:  Electric bikes are a big expense. Parts are expensive. Regular bikes work better for us.

Charmain Naidoo is a contract writer for Universities South Africa.