Sisters Kefilwe Morobane and Thato Mboweni’s mutual love of reading gave birth to Giving Wings – a communications skills and training company.
On the business
“I studied information technology at Tshwane University of Technology, and Kefilwe did communication management at University of Pretoria. I think our career routes made for a great foundation to start a business together,” says Thato. “I have a public speaking background – I’ve always been passionate about communications,” says Kefilwe.
“At varsity, I noticed how other students struggled during presentations, so I started offering tutorials. Later, in the corporate space, I saw that people didn’t know how to present their ideas well.
“At the age of 22, I offered to do a club for the staff on public speaking and communication skills. I told Thato how much I loved it, and she said: ‘Why not make it a business?’”
How it started
“As an entrepreneur, you identify gaps and come up with solutions,” says Thato. “I felt Kefilwe’s idea was viable enough for us to charge for the service. Giving Wings focuses on coaching and communication skills training. We’re not a cookie-cutter organisation – we customise all our programmes to help develop how people conduct themselves in a professional setting.”
“When we started, we still had full time jobs,” Kefilwe adds. “We wanted to test the waters before stepping out, because we had family responsibilities.”
“We went into the Olieven Township outside Centurion, in partnership with Olieven Development Association, to work with young people. We ran the programme on Saturdays, and taught them about public speaking, how to nail interviews, and how to write a CV. The project is still operational. We started with 30 kids but now there are 100.”
“A friend learnt about this and suggested we do corporate sessions. That’s how we landed our first client, UNISA, which is still one of our biggest clients,” says Thato. Some of their other clients include the Auditor General, Tshwane University of Technology and Standard Bank.
On working together
“I’m more hands-on and creative, while Thato is a thinker and strategist. We run a family business and want to leave a legacy for our kids. Having my sister besides me gives me the assurance I need,” says Kefilwe.
“We’ve developed thick skins from the disappointments of not securing big deals, and it took a long time to make a profit, because we were self-funded. It’s not always perfect, but we know why we’re doing this – Giving Wings is bigger than us. Being related has actually made our relationship stronger,” says Thato.
Read more about sisters in business in our July Issue in stores now!