The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of devastation to the South African economy, more especially SMME’s and entrepreneurs. It further exposed how poorly managed some of these businesses were. My name is Zuziwe Maphalala and I am an entrepreneur from Katlehong, a township in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Being selected to be part of the WomHub Economic Growth Accelerator was a dream come true. Before being selected by WomHub, I ran my businesses as a hustler. The programme has now taught me how to corporatise. This has led me to grow and scale successfully. I started only as an online store for black businesses to showcase their products and services on a global platform. Although I had many customers, I could never get the business to launch successfully. The biggest challenge was that many of my client’s products or services were not ready for market. They faced many of the challenges I too faced as a township entrepreneur.
During the first in-person session while Anjani Harjeven, COO of WomHub was giving a lesson, I had a light bulb moment. I realised I was the solution to my township and many others. This meant I had to start over. I had to restructure my whole business. This would have been something too overwhelming for me, especially with all the challenges I already had on my plate but all the content we went through in those three (3) days assisted me to redesign my whole business.
When I got back to my business, I used all my newly gained knowledge and in November 2021, I relaunched as Zoezie Business Consulting, a township economic development consultancy. I offer tailored business solutions designed for township-based enterprises to establish a successful Black Township Economy. And just like that I had created a new Black Township Ecosystem that provides a safe and trusted environment for Black Township-based Enterprises to thrive. The Zoezie Business Consultancy signed up strategic partners who offer professional services such as legal, accounting, business services, sales and marketing, digital marketing, project management, training and more. This means our services are now customised to suit and work for the Black Township Business Ecosystem.
We offer a one (1) hour free business diagnosis session, giving our customers a chance to determine if our value proposition suits their business goals. Our two (2) core packages that they can choose from depending on the stage of their business is Business Development and Business Management. These packages are offered as three (3) months, six (6) months as well as one (1) year contracts. We also offer established businesses a management agency contract which allows us to penetrate burdensome barriers faced by Township-Based Enterprises on their behalf. This has now made my website and app business platform a reality that has clients that are ready and suitable to be introduced to the global market.
Our clients currently include SMMEs and entrepreneurs in these industries, including optometrists, construction, spaza shops, restaurants and many more. This new business venture has been a continuous learning journey which has also increased my network and stakeholders. The next phase is working with my stakeholders to bring more opportunities and resources to the township through our workshops and training programs. The future has never looked so bright and promising for Black Townships. This has given many of us the hope that the future township economy will be run by capable entrepreneurs. The knowledge and experience obtained will develop them into smart Townships ready to take on the global economy.