Article provided by Absa
Picture a team of paint contractors. How many of them are women? In a typically male sphere, Katlego Mogotsi, Nniki Makgetla and Nokwanda Shabangu are the exception rather than the rule – but thanks to Absa, Midek Paint Contractors and their own tenacity and hard work, that is changing. Known as The Pink Ladies, Katlego, Nniki and Nokwanda won a franchise through the International Franchise Expo competition at the end of 2016, and plan to use their passion and platform to make a difference for women across South Africa.
“What this opportunity has shown us is that there is a place for women in the franchising industry,” says Katlego. “While it is true that the sector – and paint contracting in particular– is mostly male-populated and there is a need for women to work harder to break the stereotypes, the support from the Midek franchise itself has been incredible and given us the opportunity to change traditional thinking.”
It is impossible to challenge outdated mind-sets without being resilient and able to bounce back from failure – traits The Pink Ladies have proven they have in spades. Being curious, driven and willing to experiment are critical for young women entrepreneurs looking to succeed, Nniki adds.
Starting your own business – even with the support and backing of a franchise family – is hard work and requires perseverance and unwavering commitment. “Patience is probably one of the most important characteristics young entrepreneurs need: when you start a business, you expect success to happen quickly, but it doesn’t. We still haven’t made a sustainable income yet, so we have learnt that it is necessary for people who start their own companies to bend but not break,” Nniki says.
An important part of being able to roll with the inevitable punches is an openness to learning new skills and ways of doing business – and being part of a franchise helps by exposing young and inexperienced business owners to a network of experienced and skilled business people. “What is nice about being part of a franchise is that you are in business for yourself but not by yourself,” comments Nokwanda. “You have the support and guidance of the franchise, as well as the right people to mentor you and assist you through the challenges of starting a business.”
A robust support network isn’t the only advantage to being part of a franchise, though. It allows ambitious entrepreneurs to build a business of influence. Katlego, Nniki and Nokwanda started their business to be agents of change and to make a difference in tackling unemployment in South Africa, as well as building strong women-run businesses. The saying that “when you empower a woman, you empower a nation” is not just a cliché, says Katlego, and the three have plans to build a women-run organisation that extends to distribution and manufacturing in addition to painting. Being involved in a franchise enables this growth.
However, comments Katlego, there is one area that franchising needs to change: opportunities need to be better publicised to young entrepreneurs. “Not enough young people know of the prospects available in franchising. It is important that they be made aware of the advantages of joining a franchise.”
For Nniki, it is equally vital that young female entrepreneurs follow their dreams of starting their own companies. “If you have an idea, trust and believe in it and don’t give up. Every person considering starting their own business worries whether they will make it and be successful, but you should be bold and take the risk. Go for your dreams,” she concludes.
For more information of Absa Franchising, please visit absa.co.za.