Many South Africans are taking it upon themselves to start their own businesses amid an imminent jobs crisis, but they face big hurdles such as funding and diversification in the market place.
Phindile is one such entrepreneur, who not only dared to challenge the status quo and operate in an industry dominated by males but also had to seek funding to grow her Logistics business that is contracted out to huge names in the country, the likes of Sappi and Mondi to mention but a few.
How did you come to be in this industry?
I grew up in a home full of entrepreneurs; it was like in some way I knew I was destined to be here. Through out my life I was clear I wanted to be an entrepreneur. That coupled with my interest in the trucking business.
It surely must be daunting being in an all male space? How do you cope?
There are moments where you think you wont survive, as the pressure is immense. I think for me it helps that I have a staff force of men, who make me feel worthy and more so respect my views in the industry. I have had to at times work harder to prove my abilities
So getting into this industry how did you finance your business?
I had various way to finance the start up of Phindizwe logistics but with time we grew to a point where we needed more than finance, business tools to make us more efficient, especially with operations. At that time I heard of Ithala’s program and knew I could not miss out, I hounded a lady ho had the information until I got to attend their roadshow. Fast-forward today we are growing stringer with the help of Ithala and Making Moves
Ithala bank? Who are they and what do they do?
Essentially, Ithala bank is a development bank and they have various programs they run to help grow businesses in KZN. I took part in particularly the iMbokodo iyazenzela program and it helped me so much with marketing, mentorship, and access to finance. The program is worth it for anyone even those who think they just need finance to expand.
Tell us a bit about the program?
The program helped us so much with the ability to get additional funding to grow our fleet but also the tools we needed to operate efficiently. It is a program I’d encourage to many entrepreneurs who want to grow bigger and better.
There are so many programs out there; did this program really help you?
Absolutely! There are things that we can only know by experience and this is one of them. This program has helped me learn how to work in the business, just as much as it has taught me how to work on the business. It is more than finance it is development.
We hear how hard it is to run businesses, do you agree and can you share a moment for us?
It is tough, but I still do it in my heels everyday – (Laughs). I have been through the most over the years, the challenges are never the same but similar. I’d say for anyone running a business or wanting to run one the most important part is remembering why you started. This gives you so much to hold onto in any situation.
What would your advice be for women who want to follow your footsteps?
Own your space, be brave as challenges will come, walk the journey with your staff and get them to respect you. Also be able to rock your heels as equally as you become a strong boss. Lastly be resilient, it has its ups and downs