Former SABC3 continuity presenter Mpho Sono is too busy building a cleaning services company to be on TV anymore. She registered TmT Cleaning in 2000, while still working in the entertainment industry.
“I loved my television work, but you can’t be young and pretty forever,” Sono says. “I needed a new challenge and my dream was to build a legacy. I’d been inspired by many strong women around me who had gone the entrepreneurial route.”
Three years ago she quit her job and threw herself full-time into building TmT, which provides contract cleaning services for commercial, industrial and retail companies. She started with one employee and a vacuum cleaner. Despite huge barriers to entry, today she employs 120 permanent staff and has an annual turnover of R3,8 million.
The company has built a reputation for itself and has a string of corporate clients on its books, including Eskom, Growthpoint Properties, Line Property and various other commercial clients.
Sono’s success is an outstanding example of enterprise development at work. It was Eskom, which has long been involved in growing black women-owned companies, which gave TmT its first break by appointing the business as a supplier.
Subsequently, TmT signed up for Growthpoint’s incubation programme, The Property Point, designed to help business owners develop their skills and ensure sustainability. The initiative provides entrepreneurs with mentorship, training and support to enable them to develop into fully independent companies. TmT tripled its turnover after joining the programme.
“It was an invaluable experience,” says Sono. “I learnt all about compliance and occupational health and safety regulations. But I also got to grips with how to run and expand a business.”
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Don’t be afraid to bang down doors when no-one will open them for you, and find the right partner to hold your hand and help you grow.” – MONIQUE VERDUYN
Player: Mpho Sono
Company: TmT Cleaning
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