A Khayelitsha businesswoman came out on top during the recent Engen Pitch and Polish competition.
Zandile Tlhapi, owner of Baby Friendly in Makhaya, was crowned the provincial winner of the contest on Saturday 3 August held in Milnerton. She will now be competing with other businesses from around the country in Johannesburg next month. The competition is now in its 10th year and is designed to help entrepreneurs learn to pitch their business ideas to potential funders.
Tlhapi (33) said she never expected to win the competition as she nearly missed the cut for the provincial leg. “Winning the competition was the cherry on top because I already learned a lot by just being part of it,” she said.
Tlhapi started her business in June last year. She sells a range of locally manufactured baby equipment including car seats, strollers, walking rings, toys, reading and colouring books. She started the business after working for more than 12 years as a quality assurance assistant. She was retrenched in 2017 and she immediately thought of starting her own business.
“I was already thinking of starting a business and when I was retrenched it was confirmation that enough is enough and the idea of having a baby shop grew from there,” she said.
Tlhapi said she took the opportunity to do something different than the normal business you would find in the townships. She said townships also deserve good things that are different and that should start with community members. “The support I have been getting from the community has been amazing because people buy from my shop,” said Tlhapi.