We grow when we come together! At WomHub, we love to witness the power of collaboration and partnership in our founder community, as our COO Anjani Harjeven discussed in our latest livestream with Thandeka Jali, founder of Lactease. Thandeka has been a participant in our WomHub Economic Growth Accelerator programme for the past year, and her company produces a breastfeeding tonic that helps to promote milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
We listened as Thandeka told the amazing story of how a problem she faced turned into a business that helps and supports women who face the same, not-uncommon dilemma. She shared how thinking critically about her business and being able to take constructive criticism has helped her business, as well as how helpful it is to have a tribe of women to support her on her entrepreneurial journey.
As a new mother, Thandeka experienced the woes of breastfeeding for the first time because she had trouble producing milk. She said, “I honestly thought that breastfeeding is natural . . . I didn’t think it would be such a challenge”. When she explored this further, Thandeka was surprised to discover that about 30% of women globally have this problem, which may be surprising to other women as well.
Out of Thandeka’s struggle came her business Lactease, the name being a play on the words lactate and ease. Along with producing the tonic, Lactease also provides advice to assist women on breastfeeding. This is often an afterthought due to the idea that breastfeeding is easy since it’s a natural thing that women have always done. Watch the replay of this livestream below to learn about Thandeka’s journey:
Thandeka explains how WomHub and the Economic Growth Accelerator programme have helped take her business to the next level and encourages other women wanting to pursue entrepreneurship to apply and become part of the WomHub family, because progress happens at its own pace but being proactive can help to move the process along. She adds that challenges will arise but pushing on is key and encourages fellow founders to “Always remember that the problem remains the problem until there's a solution.”
Congrats to Thandeka for the progress she’s making in her business and for how significantly she’s helping other mothers. At WomHub, we believe that when women come together, that’s when the magic happens. Join us for our next livestream from 19h00 - 19h30 (GMT + 2) on Tuesday 5 July 2022, when we’ll be talking about Community Impact. It will be broadcast simultaneously to our WomHub Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, and YouTube channel. Please feel free to participate!
Our recent WomHub Founder Showcase was a unique opportunity to showcase top female founders from our boutique incubator programmes on the Circular Economy, powered by the Finnish Embassy, and the Economic Growth Accelerator, powered by the South African Future Trust. The event was a culmination of 10 months of hybrid support, access to engineering experts, mentors and funding, and it ended with a pitch off for these female founders to showcase their businesses and the added skills they have learnt on the programmes.
Rheineth Modiselle, founder of Bokamoso Recycling, won the pitch off and walked away with R25 000 in unrestricted funding for her business. We interviewed Rheineth to share more about her work, and what has inspired and contributed to her success. Here’s what she had to say, to help inspire other business founders on their entrepreneurial journeys:
Q: Congratulations Rheineth! How did you prepare and present your pitch so successfully?
‘It is important to have your notes and prepare mentally. When you are pitching, there are a lot of emotions going through you and if you’re not mentally prepared those emotions will automatically express themselves and be visible to your audience. It’s also important to ask the organization hosting the pitch off for guidelines. Prior to the pitch, WomHub sent us guidelines on what our pitches would be scored on. I followed that guideline and included all the score points.’
Q: Please can you share a bit about what inspired you to start your business?
‘I had just quit my job; I was unemployed and actively looking for opportunities. I came across a man crushing glass bottles and asked him what he was doing. We had a long conversation wherein he explained the difficulties he was facing. I had a solution for him and the glass recycler’s problems and that is how Bokamoso Recycling was born. The opportunity found me because I was also searching and ready for it.’
Q: Your mission to “repurpose glass to develop communities” is inspiring. What is your role in, and contribution to, the circular economy?
‘We purchase crushed glass from our recyclers and sell it to our partner buy back centres (although soon we will be selling our glass directly to CONSOL, which is the largest manufacturer of glass in Southern Africa). In doing this we divert glass from ending up in the landfill. Glass repurposed provides sustainable incomes in the community and is good for the environment. To date we have diverted over 6000 tons of glass from being landfilled.’
Q: The entrepreneurial journey can be challenging, as well as fulfilling. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome these?
‘The impact of Covid 19 was the biggest challenge mentally, financially and emotionally. Having to let go of staff and closing our doors for some months was hard. Learning to be resilient and agile were tools that allowed me to go back to the drawing board, re-evaluate my business strategy and find partners who would help me achieve this strategy.’
Q: In addition to winning the pitch off, how have you most benefitted from participating in WomHub’s Circular Economy Incubator programme?
‘Having a community of likeminded businesswomen was helpful as we learnt, inspired and leaned on each other. We had master classes which helped by equipping us with essential business tools, and mentors who were there to advise and guide us.’
Q: What is your vision for growing your business and how can people support you in achieving this?
‘I would love an 8ton crane truck (laughs). We are waiting for our vendor application with Consol to be approved, then we’ll be renting an 8ton crane truck for a few months until the bank can assist us with asset finance. This will allow us to reach and service even more glass recyclers, in addition to the over 200 glass recyclers we service. If there is an investment fund that we appeal to, please reach out, or anyone who knows anyone with an 8ton crane truck they are not making use of. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.’
Q: Do you have any final thoughts to share to help encourage other business founders?
‘There are plenty of local and international organizations which are actively looking to help people start and grow businesses, in almost every sector, especially for young women. I encourage you to keep looking out for opportunities and don’t be afraid of knocking on those doors.’
Thank you to Rheineth for sharing this insight and inspiration, and all the best to her and Bokamoso Recycling! Contact us today if you’d like to find out more about our WomHub programmes, and how they can potentially help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Be the change that you want to see!
In the latest installment of our livestream series, we chatted with two entrepreneurs who are part of the WomHub Economic Growth Accelerator programme and gained an insight into how they came to be where they are today in their respective fields, including contributing to the economy and a number of lives, through job creation.
Sindisiwe Chuma is the founder of eTechnologist, a start-up that offers expert problem identification, analysis, design, quality assurance, engineering solutions and the implementation and maintenance of data center systems solutions. She recently shared that participating in WomHub’s programme has impacted her business growth with the employment of their first permanent hire. Vulnerability is a difficult hurdle to overcome in entrepreneurship but being willing to ask for help when needed has helped Sindisiwe immensely in building and taking her business to greater heights.
Rizik Link, a shipping and maintenance company that does specialized engineering, was founded in 1997 by Shanaaz Effendi’s parents. Shanaaz is the finance manager and has a background in sales which has helped her build and expand her family business. Passionate about providing employment, they have 15 permanent staff and have hired many contractors, including 120 people on their last project. Being flexible to reinvention and change with the times has been vital to the success of Rizik Link and being willing to self-reflect and improve is key to the longevity that Shanaaz has seen within the business.
Watch the replay of this livestream below to learn from these inspiring ladies:
This session features WomHub Project Manager, Batha Mthombeni, interviewing these two amazing entrepreneurs. Both women share that their businesses came to be due to gaps that were noticeable within their respective industries. They share some of the steps taken to grow their businesses as well as what it takes to gain, retain and develop employees, especially during the current unemployment crisis in South Africa. "Entrepreneurship is a difficult journey full of challenges but very rewarding in the end."
Join us for our next livestream from 19h00 - 19h30 (GMT + 2) on Tuesday 21 June 2022, when we explore the power of collaboration and ‘going further together’. It will be broadcasted simultaneously to our WomHub Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, and YouTube channel.
Feel free to participate and ask questions!
Keen to discover enlightening behind-the-scenes perspectives from our recent pitch off at the WomHub Founder Showcase? This livestream recording is for you! Watch the video below where our project manager Bathandile Mthombeni interviewed pitch off winner Rheineth Modiselle and People’s Choice Award Winner Yolanda Mbanguzi. These amazing ladies vulnerably shared sincere advice for their fellow founders, encouraging them not to fear failure and to have the resilience to fail forward, while being open to welcoming collaboration and support from others, starting with our wonderful WomHub community.
The WomHub Founder Showcase, held on 12 May 2022 at our Hub in Rivonia, Johannesburg, profiled founders who have been working on transforming their businesses over the last 10 months through our Economic Growth Accelerator, funded by the South African Future Trust, and our Circular Economy Incubator, funded by the Embassy of Finland in South Africa. Leading up to this event, 50 of these founders had the opportunity to submit pitch videos, which were pre-judged to select the top 25 entrants, who participated in a virtual Refiner’s Fire pitch off event. The top 10 founders from there, plus a Wild Card entry and the People’s Choice Award Winner then pitched live at the WomHub Founder Showcase.
Take a look to discover what Rheineth and Yolanda had to say about their experiences:
You're welcome to read our previous blog post to find out more about this inaugural event, which was attended by a phenomenal group of people, including WomHub co-founders, partners, judges, female founders, investors, international dignitaries and members from the private sector to support women entrepreneurs with access and entry into global and local supply chains. At WomHub, we believe in the power of bringing women together to help them seed, incubate and scale their businesses, working together to unlock a global billion-dollar market opportunity. Because when women come together, magic happens.
You’ll get a taste of this when you watch the replay above and witness the fabulous interaction in the comments from Rheineth and Yolanda’s fellow female founders and online followers, who participated in real time as the livestream was broadcast simultaneously to our WomHub Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and YouTube channel.
Feel free to join us every other Tuesday from 19h00 – 19h30 (GMT +2) for more livestream magic!