No place for 'you can't' or 'you girls' in entrepreneur Lynette Ntuli's journey


"I don't want to live a life where I have to constantly seek permission, because then I will not reach my purpose," says Lynette Ntuli, founding director and CEO of Innate Investment Solutions.

Her business provides property and infrastructure development services in the built environment as well as enterprise asset management solutions.

"My values and that I implemented in the business I ran and the ones I now own has always based on respect," she said at the 2019 FNB Business Women's Breakfast. It was hosted in Cape Town on Tuesday in association with Smile 90.4FM.

She told of how she grew up in a time of inequality, poverty and police brutality.

Her father was an entrepreneur in Durban and always full of ideas. He raised his four daughters to have the core skills of discipline, hard work, grit and perseverance.

"During school holidays, when our friends were sleeping in, we had to get up at 05:00 in the morning to help count bread and Coke being delivered and stack them on the shelves (in his shop)," remembers Ntuli.

"He taught us how to manage supply chains and showed us the importance of how to run a business and generating an income."

Furthermore, he did not raise his daughters with the concept of "you can't" and never addressed them as "you girls". Instead he rather asked how they planned to reach what they wanted to achieve in life.

"For me the legacy I will leave behind is important. It is also important for me to have a game plan. It is about a choice about what we as women will not tolerate," said Ntuli.

"In leading and developing myself and growing a business it was important to have focus, clarity, support, value my time and ensure I have a voice in matters."

Key fundamentals in her approach to life and her career is establishing what her purpose is and to check her intent - in other words where she is heading.

"It is important to revisit your goals regularly to establish when you know you have succeeded, when it is time to move on or move faster or slower and when it is time to perhaps gracefully bow out," said Ntuli.

Her message to women in South Africa is to look at the difference between who they were told to be and who they know they really are. They also need to look at what they were told to do as opposed to what they really want to do.

"Wake up and be aware of biases in society and perceptions about women you have been fed. Take stock regularly," said Ntuli.
"Don't mark the test before you wrote it. Deliver what you were invited to do. Don't play into a negative theatre of the mind. Always question your perceptions."

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