Hip Hop boss has her own rhythm

2011-05-07 19:38

Nokwazi Nqisha started off selling handbags from her flat in Potchefstroom. Today she owns Hip Hop Revolution – three stores at shopping malls across Gauteng.
The 30-year-old married mother of two runs her own clothing retail stores and is determined to make it big in a sometimes hostile environment that tends to suffocate upcoming female entrepreneurs.

She crossed the hurdle of black women entrepreneurs not being able to access finance to start up their own companies by financing her business herself.

Like other successful businesswomen in the country, Nqisha did not expect anything to be given to her on a platter, but decided to get out there and fulfil her dream of running her own business.

“I have nine employees who work on a permanent basis and it gives me some satisfaction to know that I am making a difference to a few people’s lives,” she said.

Nqisha started small. But she says, “I then realised there was potential in hip-hop clothing and pursued that line. Business boomed and I needed a bigger space – so that’s when I started looking for retail space to rent – which I found at Southgate Mall.”

Nqisha said she struggled to get funding from banking institutions as they required surety before her loan could be approved.

“There are lots of requirements to qualify for business funding and most women are in a disadvantaged position to meet them,” Nqisha said.

She has since expanded her footprint and now owns three stores at shopping malls across Gauteng.

Illana Melzer, an Eighty20 researcher involved in the study on women’s economic empowerment, acknowledged the challenges women faced when starting up businesses.

Melzer said a study conducted in 2005 showed that black women entrepreneurs were at the bottom of the pile when it came to accessing finance.

She said that banks were not so keen to lend money to female entrepreneurs – not because they are women but due to other related factors, including the low number of women entrepreneurs among employed South Africans.

“The nature of the many challenges and obstacles facing women entrepreneurs suggest that their full economic potential is not actualised.

“Women do not feature in the mainstream of the economic agenda,” the study stated.

“Prejudice remains an issue, as illustrated by the fact that women have better credit repayment records than men, yet still find it harder to raise finance than their male counterparts,” the study found.

“Female entrepreneurs do not receive enough funding and believe it is harder for them than their male counterparts,” said Melzer.

Nqisha said one of her greatest fears in business was dealing with suspect suppliers.

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