Woman have come a long way in the business world and have proven that they can stand right beside men and make big waves. Inspiring women in South Africa are all around us and there are so many lessons that we can learn from them. We take a look at 3 women who are taking the business world by storm with their innovative and forward-thinking business ideas.
Many women share a great passion for giving back to the community, and Zizipho Nyanga is no different. Zizipho is currently CEO of the Old Mutual‘s Masisizane Fund, which is a fund created in 2007 with the aim of funding majority black-owned small businesses. Originating from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Zizipho has come a long way to get to where she is today. She studied towards a BCom Accounting degree from the former University of Transkei and a postgraduate diploma from Wits University. Her first graduate job was as a finance trainee at Ernst and Young. In 2014, she joined Old Mutual, as head of Post Investment Monitoring and Business Support of the Masisizane Fund. Just two years later she was appointed as CEO. Zizipho is highly passionate about her job and helping small business owners achieve success. “An organisation like Masisizane is a necessity in South Africa because we need to develop entrepreneurs”, says Zizipho.
Sarah Collins: Founder of the Wonderbag
Sarah has done what many entrepreneurs struggle to do: She took a simple idea and turned it into a hit. Her product: the ever-popular Wonderbag. It’s a non-electric bag made up of re-purposed chipped foam that comes in colourful, African-inspired printed fabrics with a drawstring at the top to retain the heat. Food is brought to a boil by conventional cooking methods and once put into the Wonderbag will continue to cook for up to 12 hours. This concept has been used for centuries, but Sarah has managed to market it very well. It’s sold worldwide and Sarah has formed partnerships with major brands like Unilever and Amazon. You might be asking, how did Sarah achieve such success? Her tips for creating a strong business are to think big, accept risk, be realistic, find a partner, do some good, and find other markets.
Jerusha Govender: Founder of Data Innovation
Some people choose to be entrepreneurs, while others start businesses because they are thrown into the deep end. Jerusha Govender suddenly found herself unemployed one day, and she had to choose whether to sink or swim. She chose to turn this adversity into an opportunity by creating a business called Data Innovator. Data Innovator combines strong graphic design, storytelling and analytics, underpinned by monitoring and evaluation (M&E) principles to create a creative data offering that social organisations desperately need. It was tough in the beginning. She had to use her existing network to get the word out about her new business. This meant that she had to start off doing projects for free. She also used her experience to spot a gap in the South African market. She tackled social development organisations like NGOs and NPOs that needed creative data to demonstrate the need for funding to their donors. One key piece of advice that Jerusha has for small business owners is to never stop networking. “Networking is important to source new business and skills. People often don’t realise what they don’t know, so talk to people and find your own new opportunities”, says Jerusha.
Whether you’re starting out small, or want to go big, you can learn many lessons from these top businesswomen. All of them worked hard and created key strategies that were in line with their business goals. It’s also important to have a strong team who understands the business’s ideals and works towards fulfilling their roles to the best of their ability. Women know how important it is to take a step back and listen. They listen to their employees, listen to what the market wants, and listen to the needs of their customers, and this trait serves one well in the business world where intuitiveness is highly important.
Even thriving businesses need a helping hand when it comes to business funding. Lulalend can offer some relief when it comes to financing requirements for your small business such as inventory, new hires or remodeling your premises. We offer up to R500 000 to assist small businesses– this can give your business the push it needs to grow, reach new markets and increase sales.