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When Adri left her corporate job for a fulfilling career in the cookie business in 2007, her colleagues thought she was mad. But, she knew exactly what she was doing when she took a leap of faith and bought the bankrupted Khayelitsha Cookies for only R1 in 2013. Although it came with a heap of old debt, Adri knew that without the project, many of her employees would be unable to feed their families.

A community rife with crime and poverty, Khayelitsha is home to hundreds of unskilled women whose challenges with speaking English put them at a disadvantage to find work.

Through Khayelitsha Cookies, many of those women are now skilled bakers who are able to provide a decent living baking high-quality products for companies such as Garden Court, Southern Sun Hotels, Tsogo Sun Casinos and Pick n Pay.

All of us share the same passion. If we mess up and we don’t carry this business, then so many people will be back on the street again, and so many people will be hungry again.

Adri Williams, Managing Director and co-owner of Khayelitsha Cookies

It hasn’t always been easy for Khayelitsha Cookies - faced with daily financial burdens, Adri and her husband have had to max out their bond to pay employee salaries on numerous occasions but, they kept going.

Successful in its own right, Adri defines the success of Khayelitsha Cookies by taking a look at how it has changed the lives of the women it employs and how it has impacted their lives.

Defining success is employing the next person, seeing the transformation in each lady who’s not worked before, and who earns a salary for the first week.

Adri Williams, Managing Director and co-owner of Khayelitsha Cookies

Today, the women have taken the business from losses to profitability - breaking even most months and slowly paying back its debt in order to expand. Determined to reach her goal of employing one thousand women, Adri’s dream to owning a state-of-the-art factory is slowly becoming a reality.

Listen to Adri in conversation with Charlotte Kilbane in this week’s Face to Face With Success, brought to you by Nashua.

This article first appeared on 702 : Meet Adri Williams: Changing lives, one cookie at a time

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