National recognition inspires entrepreneur

2018-01-31 06:01
Port Elizabeth entrepreneur, Ncebakazi Mhlaba (28). Photo:SUPPLIED

Port Elizabeth entrepreneur, Ncebakazi Mhlaba (28). Photo:SUPPLIED

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SHEER grit and determination have enabled Motherwell-based entrepreneur Ncebakazi Mhlaba (28) to withstand scorns and sneers in order to make her mark in the male-dominated construction industry.

Mhlaba’s resilience has received national recognition after her company, Sikuphiwe Trading, was nominated as one of the three finalists in the Young Entrepreneur Award category of the fifth edition of the prestigious South African Premier Business Awards.

“I am really humbled and greatly inspired by this kind of national recognition because it means that, as a company, we are on the right track.

“It confirms that the future is bright and I should continue growing from strength to strength despite the challenges with which I had to contend as a woman trying to make her mark in the male-dominated and highly competitive environment.

“More importantly, it gives hope to the young women of the Eastern Cape to transcend stereotypes and make their mark in any industry,” Mhlaba said.

She adds that she has doggedly soldiered on with efforts to build her company despite being frowned upon by her male counterparts who do not understand what a young woman is doing in “their domain”.

She developed a love and passion for construction while working in her mother, Nomatshayina Kinana’s construction company as a technical manager.

When she established her own company in 2013, she had mistakenly hoped that the world had changed and she would not receive the same attitude her mother had to endure in the in­dustry.

“I am always looking at the brighter side of life and hold my head high. For my company to be chosen as one of the top three in the country that are owned by young entrepreneurs in a national competition is a great source of encouragement.

“The national exposure that we are already receiving will boost our company profile.

“I hope it will also open doors for more opportunities for our company so that we can grow and contribute to creating jobs for other young people,” Mhlaba said.

She said she proved her worth and earned respect when she successfully completed 20 houses as part of a government RDP project. She employed 50 people on the project.

“I used some of the money that I received from the RDP project to buy land with the aim of building houses for sale or renting. Unfortunately, I have been unable to obtain funding.”

More than 180 companies from all nine provinces entered the fifth SA Premier Business Awards, which are sponsored by Old Mutual, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Tsogo Sun and the Wits Business School. The awards are aimed at recognising and rewarding companies that have made a meaningful contribution in growing and transforming the South African economy.

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