From Food to Philantrepreneurship

It was deeply symbolic that on the night preceding World Food Day, on 15th of October, the PSASA Johannesburg Chapter heard Miles Kubheka  (aka Vuyo) speak about his evolving role as a Food Philantrepreneur in South Africa.

Arthur Goldstuck introduced Miles and relayed his personal journey of getting to know the author of From Big Big Dreams to Living the Dream while 28 attendees listened in rapt attention. Miles unpacked his evolution from Microsoft Systems Engineer to becoming the face of “Vuyo” and then to becoming a global thought leader on understanding and revolutionising food systems.

Miles progressed from creating the Vuyo brand to Wakanda, an Accelerator Learning and Cooking Hub, to creating what he calls the revolutionary version of ” Food in the Clouds”. He demonstrated that the food system is not broken but it is designed to serve only certain sectors of society. For example, in the US market apples only hit the shelves 11 months after they are picked and a third of the worlds food goes to waste.

Some of the key takeaways on his remarkable entrepreneurial journey were:

  • Most people don’t start because of other people’s fears
  • There are no textbooks in business schools on “starting”
  • Continuous upgrading created his famous boerewors rolls – from R23 to an award-winning R120 gourmet roll
  • Controlling queues at Farmers Markets controlled perceptions and processes
  • People fear failure more than fear itself
  • Be comfortable with failure – like babies getting up to walk again
  • Athletes don’t quit – they keep training
  • Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face (Mike Tyson)
  • You can achieve your desired goal by empowering others
  • Doing good is good for business
  • The silos within the food system don’t talk to one another
  • Don’t romanticize your problems, pour your energy into Solutions
  • Ask for forgiveness rather than permission to get things done
  • Create authenticity and credibility with media alliances/partners – Miles wrote his own article for The Sunday Times, had snow-making machines at the opening of his Vuyo Restaurant, “rented crowds” and in doing so made history on the front page.
  • When the media says you are great it is far more powerful than Instagram followers
  • Respect your craft and create consistent feedback
  • We all sign up for sales, we are all in sales
  • Never stop selling your dreams to your family and your teams
  • Remind them what they signed up for
  • Never stop Dreaming Big

Miles concluded by saying it was his mother that told him to “Stand for Something, Be Something and Make a Difference in the World.”

Ingrid Lotze thanked Miles for his wonderful contribution to creating a “safe space” within the PSASA to explore different ways of speaking to the world. She said many of us that battle with Imposter Syndrome feel that we have “come home” to a sense of belonging in what Miles said:

I don’t speak for a living, I speak about my living

The Chapter Meeting then broke into Breakaway Rooms where participants networked and shared their current speaking activities and areas of expertise. They also shared their aspirations and the “Big Dreams” that Miles’ presentation had evoked.

Chapter President, Nikki Bush, ended the evening by poignantly asking the question “What can we do today that will influence our collective grandchildren tomorrow?”.

She quoted Fredrik Haran, a visionary speaker from our recent Convention, who said:

Find a truth that you know, the others would be willing to learn about.

I think we were all inspired to find Our Truth.

by Alison Weihe and Yoke van Dam

Find out more about the PSASA Johannesburg Chapter Meetings here
Miles Khubeka
Miles Khubeka
Arthur Goldstuck
Nikki Bush