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.