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A Great Time To Be A Woman In Business

South Africa’s growing band of female entrepreneurs have many lessons to teach us all.

Morné Stoltz

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South Africa’s growing band of female entrepreneurs have many lessons to teach us all. In our first article in this feature, Marine Louw showed us the power of passion.

In this article, Cresi Heslop offers living proof that opportunities are everywhere – if we can see them and are prepared to seize them. She is building a business by identifying opportunities as they open up and then working hard to exploit them.

“It’s all about using what you have and thinking a bit laterally,” Heslop says.

Heslop and her husband started a youth sports blog in order to provide a motivational platform for a new generation of South African sportsmen and – women. They saw the blog, Heslop Sports, as a labour of love, with no commercial intent. However, spending so much time among athletes did reveal a potential commercial idea: a towel specially designed with sports in mind and that South African athletes could use with pride, especially at international events.

Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

The result was a new business, Wonder Towel. Its flagship product is a microfibre towel designed to look like the South African flag, supplemented with a range of other microfibre products.

“Microfibre is environment-friendly because it’s so absorbent – it dries easily and stays fresh longer, and it takes less water to wash,” she says. “It’s also super light, thus great for travelling.”

Since then, the business has grown, selling primarily to the travel, beauty, baby and household markets, as well as the sports industry. Much of the selling is done via her online store and agents in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria – as well as the e-commerce platforms. She singles out Takealot.com which, she says, does a great job in helping small businesses put themselves on the map.

She’s also just signed up a new distributor who is targeting independent schools, and schools with big water-sports teams.

Mentorship provided Heslop with welcomed inspiration and stability. She has built a solid relationship with a businesswoman who she respects enormously, Hendrien Kruger, the head of Inoar SA, which distributes a range of imported Brazilian hair products.

“We met seven years ago and I can turn to her at any point for sensible advice or just a good chat over a cuppa,” she says. “You should find some worthy people who inspire you in your field. They could even be people that you admire from a distance or whose books and lectures have become part of your way of seeing things.”

Because mentorship can play such a positive role, it’s vital that women offer themselves as mentors. Many successful women don’t realise how great an influence they could have on the next generation, starting what she calls a “cycle of future goodness”.

We’ve always heard about the power of the old boys’ club, and how it gives men a head start in business, but says Heslop, networks seem to be opening up.

“Female small-business owners are still in a bit of minority in South Africa, I believe however we are in a wonderful season of change at present,” she says.

Related: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Change the SA Business Landscape

“I recently had dealings with one of South Africa’s oldest and most established suppliers in a particular market sector, and I found them both welcoming and nurturing to an industry newcomer – something for which I am very grateful.”

Of course, entrepreneurs must also learn how to cope with challenges all the time. Heslop says that she keeps strong by sticking to a set of habits and actions. Her religious faith is an important mainstay and she daily affirms her commitment to making a difference, to being alert for hidden opportunities, and to spreading love and respect always.

“At the end of the day it will all boil down to confidence, belief in ourselves, joyous passion and delivering extremely high quality of products and services that will command respect and ensure us our rightful place in our beautiful nation’s economy,” she concludes.

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970).

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Support for Women Entrepreneurs

How I Rebooted My Career After Getting Fired — Twice

People told me it was over. I didn’t listen.

Sallie Krawcheck

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Call it getting reorganised out. Call it getting fired. Whatever you call it, the result was the same. One day, I was running Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. The next day, they’d “simplified their leadership structure,” and I was on my couch, without a job for the second time in my adult life.

It’s a difficult thing to go from leading a team of tens of thousands to doing nothing. It’s more difficult when it feels so sudden. And it’s even more difficult when you don’t know what you’re going to do next.

My thoughts kept drifting back to a conversation I’d had with a high-profile editor when I was fired for the first time. It was back in 2008, and I had just been shown the door at Smith Barney.

Related: 10 Inspirational Quotes From Successful Actress-Turned-Entrepreneur Jessica Alba

We were talking about what led up to the firing: How we at Smith Barney had mistakenly positioned high-risk products as low-risk, how our clients had lost far more than we had led them to believe they could and how I’d gone up against the CEO (and won the support of the board) in favour of partially reimbursing clients.

Then the conversation turned to what would happen next, and what she had to say was a punch in the gut: “A man could come back from this. A woman? Not a chance.”

The short-lived career reboot

I refused to dwell on it, and I eventually was offered the job of running Merrill Lynch. Same type of job, but a bigger firm, a more storied history, in need of a turnaround. One that I and my team delivered.

But then the CEO who hired me retired and the new guy got busy putting in his own team. And so now I had two strikes on my record. Could I come back a second time? I remember pausing to stare out the window, and thinking, What if this is it? This could just be it for me. This could be the end.

It didn’t help that I went to lunch with one of my dear friends a couple of weeks later expecting a pep talk; what I got instead felt like a professional funeral. She asked me why I simply didn’t move back to my hometown of Charleston, S.C., and throw in the towel.

Related: Channeling The Fire Of Authenticity: Asia’s’ Top ‘YouTuber’, Joanna Soh

I felt like I was going to throw up. Two super-accomplished women, both of whom had my interests at heart, telling me it was over.

The self-created comeback

sally-krawcheckI made the decision that I simply wouldn’t believe them, despite evidence that they were right. I kept making calls and returning emails. I kept setting up lunches, and coffees and drinks. My phone started to ring. My inbox started to take on a life of its own.

As life returned to normal, I started to realise one important thing about success: There’s not just one road to success. It’s not that you are successful or you aren’t, or that failure and success are endpoints.

Instead, every single one of us has multiple opportunities to be successful. Each of those opportunities may be a long shot, but it can be the case that only one of them needs to work out for us to “be successful.” We just need to stay open to the possibilities.

Related: What Sheryl Sandberg Taught Me About Giving Criticism

So, exploring possibilities became my plan. I spent the next year or so learning what was out there. I called it “playing in traffic”: Engaging with people, learning about new industries and networking like it was my job. Because it was my job!

How networking led to career success

I’ve since come across the research that tells us that networking has been called the No. 1 unwritten rule of career success. Opportunities are far more likely to come from loose connections than close ones. And, through a string of those loose connections across a number of years, I had the reboot my career.

My first step was buying the old 85 Broads, a global professional network for women. I only found it because one introduction during that period of searching led to another introduction, let to another introduction, let to another one, and so on. Today, the old 85 Broads is Ellevate Network, a global community tens of thousands of women strong.

It is a a community that believes in the positive impact of women in business, and the community has made it our goal to help women advance at work. I later went on to found Ellevest, an investing platform for women; what unites the two is the recognition that advancing women — and, frankly, getting more money into the hands of women — is an unmitigated positive.

Related: Entrepreneur Thuli Magubane On The Importance Of A Strong Network When Starting Out

Getting reorged out of Merrill Lynch was a low point. But the challenges and self-discovery that followed gave me a tremendous opportunity: the chance to be an entrepreneur, and to use that platform to impact the lives of thousands of women around the world. It’s been more difficult than running Merrill Lynch, and more rewarding by far.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Support for Women Entrepreneurs

Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurs are growing in numbers, but without access to appropriate funding many start-ups will find it difficult to grow their businesses, regardless of whether there’s a man or woman at the helm. Fortunately, access to funds for female entrepreneurs is improving thanks to government and private enterprises.

Nicole Crampton

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In fact, The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) noted that 72% of micro-enterprises and 40% of small enterprises are currently owned by women. Government and private enterprises have put programmes and funds in place aimed at empowering the women of South Africa.

Starting a business is always a challenging objective, what makes it more challenging is trying to find funding to get your innovative idea of the ground.

Content in this guide

  1. The Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF)
  2. Women Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF)
  3. Business Partners Women in Business Fund
  4. IDF Managers Funding
  5. Enablis Acceleration Fund
  6. The National Empowerment Fund (NEF)
  7. Absa Women Empowerment Fund
  8. The Special Projects and Programmes Unit (SPP)
  9. Women in Oil and Energy South Africa (WOESA)

Funds and Financial Assistance

Here are seven funds and financial assistance programmes as well as two resources for women entrepreneurs in South Africa.

The Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF)

isivande-womens-fund

Isivande Women’s Fund

This government fund aims at accelerating women’s economic empowerment by supplying cost effective, user friendly and responsive finance. The IWF offers support services to improve the success of your business.

It targets businesses that are starting up, expanding, rehabilitating, franchising and those that need bridging finance.

The aim of the fund is to create self-sustaining black- and female-owned businesses by offering primary financial and non-financial support.

How to Apply for IWF Funding

Female-owned companies need to meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  1. Your business must be operational for 6 months.
  2. Your business requires early stage capital for expansions and growth.
  3. 50% plus one share owned and managed by women.
  4. Your business requires potential growth and commercial sustainability.
  5. Your business must improve social impact with employment creation.

Contact IWF for funding

  • Businesses that are eligible and need funding between R30 000 and R2 million can submit their application.
  • Apply to the IWF through the IDF website or call +27 (11) 772 7910.
  • Download application forms from www.idf.co.za.

For more information on start-up funding visit this guide.

Women Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF)

The Women Entrepreneurial Fund

The Women Entrepreneurial Fund

The Women Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF) was established by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to support access to entrepreneurial funds for women business owners. R400 million has been set aside for women-owned businesses.

“We need to increase the extent to which women own and manage existing and new enterprises by improving their access to economic resources and infrastructure,” says Meryl Mamathuba, Head of Development Funds Department at the IDC.

“This strategy is necessary to create viable opportunities that facilitate sustainable development and empowerment.”

How to Apply for WEF Funding

Women-owned businesses must meet the following requirements to qualify for WEF funding:

  • Businesses must have at least 50% women shareholding.
  • Applications can be for start-ups, expansions or acquisitions.
  • You’ll need a solid, fundable business plan to start or expand within an identified market.
  • Your business plan will need to include financial plans detailing: capital expenditure, working capital requirements, resourcing and operational involvement.
  • You can also be a shareholder with a direct or indirect total net asset base of less than R15 million.

The following sectors are excluded from eligibility to the WEF:

  • Franchising
  • pure acquisitions
  • construction
  • import and export
  • retail
  • primary agriculture
  • property development and consulting services such as recruitment and engineering.

Contact WEF for funding

You can find out more information and access the application form from the IDC website: http://www.idc.co.za/.

For more information on IDC visit this article.

Business Partners Women in Business Fund

Business Partners Women in Business Fund

Business Partners Women in Business Fund

The Business Partners Limited Women in Business Fund is focused on assisting women entrepreneurs with starting, expanding or purchasing an existing business. The Women in Business Fund is aimed at helping women start their entrepreneurial journey on an even footing.

The fund aims to:

  • Increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs
  • Invest in viable women-owned businesses
  • Assist in the growth and expansion of women-owned businesses
  • Contribute towards an increase in the number of successful women entrepreneurs and inspire young females in choosing entrepreneurship as a career option.
  • Facilitate the creation of new jobs and decreasing unemployment and poverty among the citizens of South Africa.

Do You Qualify for Business Partners Women in Business Fund funding?

Women-owned companies need to meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Businesses with a minimum of 50% women shareholding.
  • Women entrepreneurs, who wish to start, expand or buy an existing business.
  • Women in operations and management roles in the business.

How to Apply for Business Partners Women in Business Fund funding?

To apply for financing from the Business Partners Women in Business Fund, you will need to submit your business plan to one of its Fund advisors. You can also send your business plan to enquiries@businesspartners.co.za or deliver it to any one of the fund’s offices located country-wide.

Contact Business Partners Women in Business Fund for funding

If you wish to contact Business Partners for further information you are also welcome to submit a finance enquiry online enquiries@businesspartners.co.za and one of their investment personnel will contact you.


How to Write a Funding Proposal

Knowing how to write a funding proposal properly can make or break your business idea before it even gets off the ground.


IDF Managers Funding

IDF Managers Funding

IDF Managers Funding

The Identity Development Fund is a leading organisation in developing innovative financial products with the added benefit of being integrated with non-financial support. IDF is focused on unlocking value in the entrepreneurial sector through fund management services for institutional and corporate investors.

This fund is divided into multiple sectors, including:

  • Management funds, which are targeted at entrepreneurial SME investment and development.
  • Advisory services on strategy and implementation of a new project, which is targeted at the development of entrepreneurs.

Financial support is structured on a case by case basis and non-financial support is tailored to the needs of businesses during the various stages of growth, as well as the needs of the entrepreneur.

Do You Qualify for IDF Managers Funding?

Your business needs to meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Black owned and managed (51% or more); or
  • Black women and managed businesses (51% or more); or
  • Black youth owned and managed (51% or more)

Investment criteria

IDF Managers are focusing on the following industries to help you diversify your portfolio:

  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Tourism
  • Agro-processing
  • Mining and infrastructure related services
  • Healthcare services
  • ICT
  • Construction
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Other productive sectors
  • Supply chain linked opportunities

Excluded industries

The following sectors are excluded from eligibility to the IDF Mangers Fund:

  • Speculative real estate
  • Non-commercial ventures (NPO)
  • Businesses deriving revenue from gambling, liquor, military or illegal activities
  • Businesses not socially responsible or adverse to the development of small businesses
  • Agencies
  • Primary farming
  • Replacement finance
  • Professional services

Contact IDF Mangers Fund for funding

To apply for capital, please visit http://www.idf.co.za/entrepreneurs.php# and download the application form at the bottom of the page. Once the application form is completed you can email it to info@idf.co.za.

Related: 10 Tips for Finding Seed Funding

Enablis Acceleration Fund

enablis-acceleration-fund

Enablis Acceleration Fund

The Enablis Acceleration Fund is a partnership between Enablis Financial Corporation SA (Pty) Ltd and Khula Enterprise Finance Limited. It is currently capitalised at R50 million.

Its aim is to improve access to SME early stage funding, while reaching out and supporting SME’s that are developing in remote or rural areas with a view to creating new sustainable jobs that alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment.

This acceleration fund offers equity and debt instruments over loan periods no longer than 60 months.

Do You Qualify for Enablis Acceleration Funding?

Those eligible for this acceleration funding must meet the following criteria:

  • South African SMEs that are accredited by the Enablis Entrepreneurial Network.
  • Black and women entrepreneurs for start-ups and the expansion of a business.
  • SMEs involved in all sectors, specifically ICT, transport, tourism, agriculture and services industry.
  • SMEs that need working capital and or asset finance.

How to Apply for Enablis Acceleration Funding

To become a member and start on your journey with Enablis, visit the Join Enablis section at http://www.enablis.org/ and fill out the application form. You will be contacted by the appropriate chapter manager.

Contact Enablis Acceleration Funding for funding

The contact details for the person in charge of enquires for South Africa are:

  • Name: Ebenise Bester
  • Contact: +27 21 422 0690 (CT)
  • E-mail: bester@enablis.org
  • Address: Suite 202 Sir Lowry Studios, 95 Sir Lowry Road, Cape Town, 8001

Related: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

The National Empowerment Fund is a government agency that is set up to provide capital for black economic empowerment transactions.

Although this isn’t specifically a female-focused entrepreneur fund, it does cater for black women and aims to empower them to become part of the entrepreneur society.

The NEF is a driver and a thought-leader when it comes to promoting and facilitating black economic participation through the provision of financial and non-financial support to black empowered businesses, as well as by promoting a culture of savings and investment among black people.

Do You Qualify for The National Empowerment Funding?

The main investment areas for this fund are construction, information and communication technology and media, as well as food and agro-processing sectors.

While these sectors will be favoured, it doesn’t mean other sectors are not eligible for funding.

This fund is also specifically targeted at BEE candidates and consequently will not be available to other candidates.

How to Apply for the National Empowerment Fund

Whether your business is a start-up or an existing business, every applicant must fill in an application form once you understand the NEF requirements and identify products that suit you. The application serves as a screening document. After this you’ll need to draw up a comprehensive business plan.

Contact the National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

For more information and insights into the fund:

Fore more information on NEF funding visit the guide here.


How To Use Your Business Plan to Get Funding

One reason for developing a business plan is to get outside parties interested in providing capital for a new venture. A good business plan tells an interesting and comprehensive story that an outside party can use to evaluate the viability of a new business concept.


Absa Women Empowerment Fund

absa-women-empowerment-fund

Absa has positioned itself to assist with the empowerment of females by introducing the Women Empowerment Fund. This loan offers a minimum of R50 000 to a maximum of R3 million with a maximum loan of five years and a monthly reducible overdraft.

The Women Empowerment Fund has been designed so that 70% of the loan is paid directly to suppliers and the interest rate is linked to the prime lending rate. The loan will also be structured according to the associated credit risk of the entrepreneur and their business.

If you’re a businesswoman with the skills and expertise to make a success of your business and your loan application has been turned down because you did not have enough security, then you may be eligible for finance though Absa’s Women Empowerment Fund, depending on your businesses’ capability to repay the loan.

Do You Qualify for Absa’s Women Empowerment Fund?

Those eligible for this acceleration funding must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a South African woman permanently residing in South Africa.
  • Your business is a Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) as defined by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – including new start-ups, existing businesses, franchises and businesses switching from other banks, subject to Absa Credit approval.
  • You do not qualify for a traditional business loan under normal banking criteria due to poor credit records (must be justifiable).
  • The business’s major shareholder (more than 66%) is fully involved in the day-to-day operation of the business.
  • You have the skills and, or, expertise relevant to your business and the industry or sector.
  • You have a well-researched business plan.
  • Your business can show profitability through historical financials or a realistic cash flow forecast.
  • You operate in an approved industry (ask ABSA’s consultants about the sectors and industries that do not qualify).
  • You require repeat loans, but only once the initial loan has been repaid in full.
  • You need a loan of between R50 000 and R3 million with a maximum loan term of five years and monthly reducible overdrafts.
  • You can show evidence of a revenue stream, i.e. letters of intent. (Purchase orders)
  • The main business transactional account is held with Absa; no split banking is allowed.

The following conditions mean you will be unable to receive funding for ABSA’s Women Empowerment Fund:

  • Non-South African citizens
  • Money raising ventures
  • Enrichment
  • All trusts, public companies, section 21 companies
  • Commercial and Residential property finance

How to Apply for Absa’s Women Empowerment Fund

You will find more information and the application form on the website here.

To apply for funding complete the application form and bring it to your nearest Absa branch, along with the relevant supporting documentation listed on the last page of the application form.

Contact the Absa Women Empowerment Fund

For more information and enquiries into the fund contact ABSA on their support centre line: 0860 040 302.

For more information on ABSA Enterprise funding read this guide.

Resources and support

Government and successful women entrepreneurs have realised there is a gap in education for female entrepreneurs and have started to create support programmes where female entrepreneurs can find out exactly what they need to be successful within a specific sector or business. 

The Special Projects and Programmes Unit (SPP)

The Special Projects and Programmes Unit (SPP)

The Special Projects and Programmes Unit (SPP)

The Special Projects and Programmes Unit (SPP) within the Programme Analysis and Development (PAD) of SEDA, has an arm that focuses on projects specifically for women.

The SPP is supporting women so that they are hindered less by negative prevailing socio-cultural attitudes, gender discrimination or bias and personal difficulties.

The Special Projects and Programmes Unit is a platform where women can educate themselves about all the various aspects of becoming an entrepreneur. This resource also provides women with information on additional funding sources.

Contact the Special Projects and Programmes Unit (SPP)

For more information and enquiries into the programme:

Related: Support for Highflying Entrepreneurs from Specialised SEDA Programme

Women in Oil and Energy South Africa (WOESA)

Women in Oil and Energy South Africa

Women in Oil and Energy South Africa

The WOESA Group of businesses is focused on facilitating and promoting business for, and enhancing, the participation of South African women in the oil and energy sector.

WOESA offers services to its member companies, organisations and individuals that focus on developing a knowledge base and building capacity amongst women through education and training.

The group facilitates access to business opportunities and conducts advocacy work for women, by assisting them in drafting legislation and policies. WOESA also aims to assist women with access to funding and investment.

Related: The Dangers Of Crowdfunding With Coolest Cooler Founder Ryan Grepper

WOESA provides specific services to enhance female participation in the oil and energy sector. These services include:

  • Organising workshops and conferences
  • Develop a knowledge base and make it accessible to its members
  • Training
  • Interface between members and business opportunities
  • Networking, lobbying and advocacy
  • Participation in drafting legislation and policies
  • Facilitation of access to finance/funding for business opportunities for women in the oil and energy sector
  • Developing and maintaining an interactive website with information for members only, containing news, legislation, articles, business opportunities, a calendar and more.
  • Recruitment of women in the oil and energy sector.

Contact Women in Oil and Energy South Africa (WOESA)

For more information and enquiries into the programme:

Women are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the entrepreneurial world. To assist them in growing and reaching new markets, government and private business have created funds and resources designed for women.

These funds and resources will help women entrepreneurs to become more successful by providing them with both financial and non-financial support.

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10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

Discover the secrets of these ten innovative women entrepreneurs who have built highly successful SA businesses, while juggling family responsibilities.

Nicole Crampton

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Farah Fortune

Farah-Fortune-African-Star-Communication

Farah Fortune

  • Entrepreneur: Farah Fortune
  • Company: African Star Communications
  • Family: One child
  • Contact: www.africanstar.co.za

Farah Fortune resigned from her previous position and started her business from her bedroom floor. Fortune soon found herself sharing two-minute noodles with her daughter as the money began to run out.

Fortune had to momentarily shelve her dream of starting her own business and work for a PR company in order to support her daughter. She hated every minute of it so when her CC registration finally come through, she walked out the door.

Today, African Star Communications represents high-profile rappers such as K.O and Solo, and stand-up comedians Loyiso Gola and Jason Goliath. What made Fortune different from other PR firms is she took on small clients and made them into big stars.

Fortune revealed:

“My daughter keeps me motivated; she needs clothes on her back and food in her stomach. Even if this didn’t work for me, I’d scrub toilets to make sure she had what she needed. I will never see my child suffer.”

Fortune believes that balancing work and home isn’t easy at all; she has a demanding career and considers herself very lucky to have an amazing support system.

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Business Women To Watch

Fortune doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything as her daughter is her priority she makes sure she’s always there for her.

Read more on Farah Fortune’s journey to success here.

Lize Fouche

Lize-Fouche

Lize Fouche

  • Entrepreneur: Lize Fouche
  • Company: Number 1 Foods
  • Family: Husband and two children

Lize Fouche didn’t consider her muesli a viable entrepreneurial idea until her baby girl was born and she needed to bring in extra income.

As her daughter grew, it became harder to care for her and watch over muesli roasting in the oven: “As orders grew we took our last few thousand rand and tried to build a steel roasting drum.”

“We inadvertently created a muesli pop that would later become a popular product in our range. With a few tries we then mastered roasting muesli in the bigger roaster.” Fouche’s Nutri-start product is now available in Pick n Pays around the country.

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

“We found the buyer really supportive of our business, not like the horror stories you hear of large retailers steam-rolling small businesses.”

“As a mother entering the business world, I had to really persevere when it came to pitching my product to various businesses. It took time convincing my family that this was the right thing to do. With a six-month-old and two-year-old, I had to juggle motherhood and business, sometimes taking my children with me to business meetings because I didn’t have a babysitter.”

Read more on Lize Fouche here.

Vanessa Gounden

Vanessa Gounden

Vanessa Gounden

  • Entrepreneur: Vanessa Gounden
  • Company: HolGoun Investment Holdings
  • Family: Husband and two children
  • Contact: www.holgoun.co.za

In 2003 Vanessa Gouden founded HolGoun Investment Holdings with her husband. HolGoun’s successful business approach is that it only invests in business and projects that the company can directly grow and develop.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

This business approach has assisted HolGoun is acquiring a strong and diverse portfolio of investments in several sectors including mining, financial services, healthcare, property, media and entertainment, fashion, security, and film production.

“I worked from home, with my first office located in a bedroom and consisting of a computer and a desk,” revealed Gouden. Despite her humble beginnings, HolGoun is valued at more than R2.9 billion and Gouden enjoys her time creating her own fashion label called Vanessa G, which is part of HolGoun Investment Holdings.

Her daughter models for her fashion brand and her son, a musician and producer, runs Goliath, a boutique record label that supports and promotes local talent.

“My husband and I have been together since high school,” says Gouden. “We are cut from the same cloth with the same political, social and religious inclinations. The family value system that was inculcated in us as we were growing up led us to manage political, family and business responsibilities without compromising one for the other.”

Read more on Vanessa Gounden here.

Angel Jones

Angel-Jones

Angel Jones

In 2003 Jones launched her business Homecoming Revolution, “as a website to tell the stories of people who have come home – the good bits and the bad.”

The message was, “You’re not a failure if you come back; you’re a pioneer, entrepreneur and revolutionary, and look at all these amazing things that are possible. Don’t wait till it gets better, come home and make it better.”

In 2011 Jones managed to make Homecoming Revolution a profitable business and now focuses all her time on it. As a mother of two Jones works hard to keep her family happy and spends as much time with them as she can.

Related: How To Fail Better By Reflecting On What Went Wrong

Jones is a great role model for her children showing them how to go after their dreams and do something every day that they love.

Jones believes that:

“The best way to make your children happy is to be a happy parent.”

This is what she uses to keep her work and home balance in check. Whenever she’s around her children she makes sure to be positive and happy with them, giving them a happy positive outlook on life.

Find out more about Homecoming Revolution here.

Sonia Booth

Sonia-Booth

Sonia Booth

  • Entrepreneur: Sonia Booth
  • Company: Bonneventia S Footwear
  • Family: Husband and two children

After coming second in Miss South African and becoming an international model, Sonia Booth decided to turn her attention to making her own shoe line.

She founded Bonneventia S Footwear and manufactures her shoes in Johannesburg. Local designer Thula Sindi has even used Sonia’s shoes in his shows and more local designers are following suit.

Related: Watch List: 11 Teen Entrepreneurs Who Have Launched Successful Businesses

Her business has grown into successful enterprise. Booth now offers her customer pedicures while they wait for their custom made shoes to be made.

“I manage with great difficulty. I have a great support system with my husband, my mom and Gogo Maureen who helps care for my son. I don’t frequent the factory unless necessary. This means I can do the administration work from home and be with my family.”

Read more on Sonia Booth here.

Nicole Stephens

Nicole-Stephens

Nicole Stephens

Nicole Stephens’s business consists of four women who all operate on flexitime. The Recruitment Specialists continues to incorporate untraditional methods by not having a head office or basic salary’s. Despite a lack of traditional systems, The Recruitment Specialists has been profitable from day one.

“There are many talented women who are forced to choose between family responsibilities and having a fulfilling career because existing business formats can’t accommodate their needs. And it’s not just mothers; people whose peak performance times happen outside of the nine to five, or those with long commutes,” explains Stephens.

“I was pregnant with my first child when we founded TRS and it was with the intention to create a business that provided us founders and employees with freedom and flexibility.”

Related: 5 Steps To A Multi-million Dollar Business Before 30

Stephens reveals that her team stays in contact by using Skype, WhatsApp, cell phones, and email. She believes this system works for them because all of their roles are clearly defined. If anyone has a problem, they know exactly who to contact.

“As for the flexi-time, we’re fortunate that there’s no problem that can’t wait an hour, and if it really can’t wait we can make a plan to be available. It’s also important not to try juggle work and life because one of the two will come off short,” believes Stephens.

Read more on Nicole Stephens here.

Nkhensani Nkosi

Nkhensani Nkosi

Nkhensani Nkosi

  • Entrepreneur: Nkhensani Nkosi
  • Company: Stoned Cherrie
  • Family: Husband and four children
  • Contact: www.stonedcherrie.co.za

Nkhensani Nkosi is the designer and founder behind the uniquely South African brand, Stoned Cherrie. Since she launched her business in 2000, Nkosi has showcased her range at New York Fashion Week. Recently, Stoned Cherrie introduced the beautiful talents from New York-based South African designer Darryl Jagga.

Stoned Cherrie continues to grow and has recently expanded into eyewear – a firm favourite of several African and international icons, including South Africa’s pop singer, Lira.

The fashion enterprise has started to collect other ambitious fashion designers, who have a unique voice and interesting point of view.

Related: 6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa

Nkosi reveals: “When I get home every day I put on my multitude of ears to listen attentively to all the voices of my family competing for No 1 spot, trying to tell me stories about school and who said what, while brokering sibling peace… the list is endless.”

“The secret to being a successful businesswoman is about creating balance in life, taking care of your needs, spiritually, emotionally and physically as well as having a positive outlook.”

Nkosi spends most of her free time sitting with her children. She believes they make her appreciate being alive. “I also love family holidays. We recently went scuba diving and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Read more on Nkhensani Nkosi.

Amy Kleinhans-Curd

Amy-Kleinhans-Curd

Amy Kleinhans-Curd

  • Entrepreneur: Amy Kleinhans-Curd
  • Company: PLP Group
  • Family: Husband and four children
  • Contact: www.plp.co.za

Mother of four, famous Miss South Africa winner Amy Kleinhans-Curd knew she was going to be an entrepreneur at age 11.

Today, she’s better known for her role as co-founder and director of the PLP Group, as well as her involvement in numerous education-based businesses and organisations.

What most people don’t know about Kleinhans-Curd is that she has been in business for more than 23 years, “I still often feel like the smallest, the least experienced and the least knowledgeable. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing — it keeps me humble and it keeps me striving to know more.”

Related: Spark Schools: Adapting At The Speed Of Scale

Being a mother of four means that juggling work and family can be a difficult balancing act, but Kleinhans-Curd takes it all in her stride.

“I believe that running a successful business and a successful family life does not need to be mutually exclusive. I have a passion to lead by example for my children and show them it’s possible to do both.

Because of this outlook my children have a very good understanding of the demands of the business world and they adapt exceptionally well to the frequent changes in our routine and our lifestyle accommodates for it. We all support and understand each other regardless of the demand on our lives. And I’m happy to say so far so good.”

Read more on Amy Kleinhans-Curd.

Michelle Okafor

Michelle-Okafor

Michelle Okafor

  • Entrepreneur: Michelle Okafor
  • Company: Michelle Okafor African Designs
  • Family: Husband and two children
  • Contact: www.michelleokafor.co.za

Michelle Okafor started her professional career as a travel agent, but on a trip to Nigeria she became inspired by all the beautiful, bright and eye-catching fabrics.

Feeling inspired, she returned to South Africa, determined to create exquisite pieces for everyday wear using the fabrics she had seen.

Today, her distinctive and colourful designs can be found in boutiques and in her online store. Okafor’s collection includes everything from dresses to jackets, shoes and accessories. Her vision to combine traditional African culture with urbanity can clearly be seen in every piece.

During the development stages of Okafor’s fashion enterprise “I could only work on my designs after 8pm once my children had gone to bed,” so that she could spend as much time with them as possible.

Read more on Michelle Okafor.

Basetsana Kumalo

Basetsana-Kumalo

Basetsana Kumalo

  • Entrepreneur: Basetsana Kumalo
  • Company: Tswelopele Group
  • Family: Husband and three children
  • Contact: www.basetsanakumalo.com

Basetsana Kumalo won the Miss South Africa pageant as well as became the First Princess in the Miss World Competition. Kumalo used the networking opportunities involved to launch her professional career.

Related: Edward Moshole Founder Of Chem-Fresh Started With R68 And Turned It Into A R25 Million Business

At 20, she helped negotiate the deal for Top Billing to become an independent production house. She managed to secure a 50% partnership in Top Billings production company, Tswelopele Productions. This was because of her involvement in and initialising of the negotiations. Kumalo reveals the secret to her success is “courage, determination, passion and staying committed to the course.”

Despite her many successes Kumalo tries to balance a successful and fulfilling career with family responsibilities.

Even though her family is high profile, the Kumalo’s keep their lives grounded and prioritise what is important such as quality time with family on the weekends.

Read more on Basetsana Kumalo here.

Next slideshow: 10 Dynamic Black Entrepreneurs

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