Being able to share her Women’s Day success story as a pump attendant, working a service station forecourt was never in her life plan. Today however, thanks to the shot Engen gave her when no one else would, Vuyanavo “Vuyi” Mukhari is pursuing her dream career in film and television production.
First Mukhari’s winning smile, professionalism and upbeat demeanour landed her a position as a petrol attendant at an Engen service station in Randburg when she couldn’t secure a job in her chosen field. Later, it was exactly those qualities that caught the attention of a woman influential enough to help Mukhari change everything.
“I became downhearted when I couldn’t get a job after graduating from the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa, especially since I’d worked so hard at a butchery to fund my studies,” recalls 26-year-old Vuyi
“But one day I picked myself up and decided I would get a job, any job, so long as it gave me an income and a reason to get up in the morning.”
Mukhari fought hard for her petrol attendant job, and once she had secured it, she did what she had promised her new bosses and gave the new job her all.
Hardly three months later, she caught the eye of businessperson turned motivational speaker Lerato Ditshego, when she offered to not only fill up her petrol tank, but also to save her a trip into the shop in the cold.
“It was a very cold day in July last year and when she pulled in I gave her my best smile so she would choose my lane. I offered to run into the shop and get her a cup of coffee or anything else she may be needing. She went in herself, but then she asked my name and we got talking,” says Vuyi.
The next day she arrived at work to learn that she and her smile were trending on social media, thanks to Ditshego sharing the news of the graduate who was embracing her service station job, grateful for the chance she had been given.
Later, in an interview with Destiny magazine, Ditshego also shared the story, saying that while Vuyi had every reason to feel angry and defeated, she had instead chosen the opposite.
“This young woman was perseverance personified,” she wrote, adding that she was so awed by Vuyi’s positivity that she had taken her details and promised to do what she could to help.
“I shared her story on social media and got an overwhelming response,” Ditshego adds.
Vuyi says she “cried and cried” when she saw her post had 5.7K likes, 3.2K shares and 654 comments and responses. She had never before felt so validated. Several offers followed, and she accepted a TV production intern position at Advertising giants TBWA Hunt Lascaris in Sandton, where she still works today.
Even though she ended up spending only three months in her petrol forecourt job with Engen, Mukhari is adamant that without the company giving her the initial opportunity, none of her success would have been possible.
“They were reticent about employing me in the job because I was a graduate, and I had to work hard to persuade them that I would be grateful for whatever job I could get. Engen took a chance on me, and provided me with a platform from which I could chase my true calling.
“I will always be grateful for the chance Engen gave me when I was really struggling to get started,” she says.
Unathi Njokweni-Magida, Engen’s head of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, says empowerment of black women is a top priority for Engen. And while the company works hard to actively build a pipeline of black and female graduates, they are equally happy to offer a platform from which women can launch themselves into alternate careers where applicable.
“We are committed to education and we would never want to hold someone like Vuyi back from her true calling. We are just grateful to have been part of her journey, and for playing a role in setting her on a path to doing what she is trained to do,” adds Njokweni-Magida.
Vuyi’s Engen colleagues held a farewell celebration for her when she left, eager to see her fulfil her true potential.
“I don’t know where I would have ended up if it wasn’t for Engen. They helped me become the person I am today,” says Vuyi smiling.
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
Leading organisations at the SME Summit
SME Insurance Checklist For New Year
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers, advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies.
Business owners who are planning for the year ahead should not overlook the importance of reviewing their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered against insurable risks.
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, every year businesses face unique challenges ranging from credit and market risks, technological disruptions, compliance, operational and regulatory risks, amongst others. As a matter of precaution, insurance policies should at least be reviewed or updated once a year.
He advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies:
- Employee movements – if there are any employees who have left or joined the company, ensure that your policy is updated accordingly.
This type of cover normally depends on the role and contribution of the employee to the business. For instance, directors may be covered for Key Person Insurance and Directors & Officers Liability insurance.
- Protest Actions – this year is the national election year and leading up to elections we can expect to see an increase in the frequency and severity of protest actions, riots and strikes. Thus, it is essential to ensure that adequate special risks cover is in place from the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (SASRIA).
SASRIA provides cover to both individuals and businesses against special risks like civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism at affordable premiums.
- Cyber risks – it is essential to communicate with your insurer or broker and find out if there are any new risks that your business should be protected against. Cyber incidents continue to be a major risk for businesses especially in the SME sector. Over the last couple of years there has been a major increase in the number of reported cyber incidences.
More businesses are now facing increased cyber threats due to their increased dependency on technology, relating to their internal and customer data being compromised by fraudsters. It is therefore essential to have some form of cyber risk insurance cover and/or enhancement of data security protocols.
- Regulatory changes – every year there are a number of regulatory changes that impact businesses directly or indirectly, which may result in fines and penalties for non-compliance.
- Natural catastrophes – the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions, coupled with intensifying natural catastrophes will continue to have a significant impact on businesses.
Businesses should ensure they are adequately protected against these risks to avoid incurring sever financial losses.
- Business changes – should a business consider moving to a new location, purchasing new premises or venture into new business activities, these types of changes could have a major impact on its risks profile. As a result, the policy needs to be updated accordingly.
- New and Enhanced products – An innovative culture has taken over the insurance industry and ever so often we see the introduction of new products or the enhancement of existing products. Get in touch with you broker to advise you on any new products that might add value to your existing insurance portfolio.
“Reviewing your policy regularly gives you peace of mind knowing that you can focus on running your business effectively, without worrying about unforeseen risks,” concludes Maupa.
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