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Ntsikelelo Management and Accounting Services: Sibongile Mahlangu

An entrepreneur makes a difference by mentoring and training small businesses.

Juliet Pitman

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Sibongile Mahlangu of Ntsikelelo Management and Accounting Services

It was while doing her articles in accounting that Sibongile Mahlangu first realised just what small businesses in South Africa were up against. “The more I looked at it, the more I realised that SMMEs needed so much help in terms of training, accessing finance and setting up systems that would help their businesses become successful. There was such a huge gap,” says the Cape Town-based founder of Ntsikelelo Management and Accounting Services. Today, she fills that gap. Ntsikelelo is dedicated to the mentorship and training of start-ups. However, realising that most small businesses simply cannot afford the kind of training and mentorship they require, Mahlangu has adopted an innovative business model that sees Ntsikelelo contracting its services to organisations and programmes involved in the mentorship of SMMEs. Among them are the UCT Graduate School of Business’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), SABMiller’s Kick-Start initiative and Taverner Training Programme, Umsobomvu Youth Fund, the City of Cape Town, Swiss Contact and the Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas.

Through these and other institutions, Mahlangu and her team of consultants have been instrumental in helping hundreds of entrepreneurs to attain success. But while she might have helped others to grow, she’s the first to point out the importance of her own growth and development as a successful mentor. “I was under no illusions when I started that there were areas in my business and expertise that required improvement and that before I could claim to be an authority on business success, I would have to work on these areas first,” she says.She lists formal business writing and business communication and language skills among the areas where she focused her self-improvement. “They are just two small things and they might seem insignificant, but the fact is that if you want to be taken seriously in business and be seen as a professional, you need to communicate in the appropriate way,” says Mahlangu.

Over time, her exposure to the SMB sector has honed her ability to identify and address the most common problems in small business management. One of the key things that’s emerged in her extensive mentoring experience is that a lack of financial suss presents a serious challenge to the success of countless businesses. “While working with CIE I had the opportunity to work in the debt collection division and I can tell you it was a real learning curve. Small businesses not only find it difficult to access finance, but when they do get a loan, they frequently lack the financial skills and discipline to be able to ensure that their business can service that loan and eventually pay it back.”Realising that getting the money to run a business is only half the battle won, Ntsikelelo takes a whole-business approach to mentorship. “We identify those areas where interventions are required and then we help to set up the systems and provide training on how to run them. But where I believe we add the most value is through our hand-holding over a six-month period where we make sure that the business owner not only understands but has become fully proficient in implementing the systems on a daily basis,” Mahlangu explains.

It’s this one-on-one contact and assistance that she finds the most rewarding and she has many stories to tell about how small ideas have been turned into big business through dedication and commitment. She relates one of her favourite cases: “A business owner with whom I made contact through SABMiller’s Taverner Training Programme was working full-time and running a liquor sales business on the side. Although he wanted to follow his small business dream full-time, he was afraid of resigning from his job and then failing as an entrepreneur. It’s a common hurdle for many people. We sat down together and I helped him do costings and projections, taking into consideration what he was earning at his current job, how much the liquor business was generating and how much the business could make if he gave it his full attention. This kind of process is really helpful in making a dream concrete and tangible, and in the end he went for it. Today, his business turns over R120 000 a week.” As Mahlangu concludes, she needs no other measure for her own success.

Contact: +27 82 773 5749 and +27 21 949 5281; www.nmas.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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