Young PR gurus taking the industry by storm

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Owning your own business can be tough, especially when you’re a young woman.

Allegro Dinkwanyane, 25, Orgella Media

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I studied for a BA degree in journalism, and majored in communications and philosophy at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). I also studied social media and marketing at the University of Cape Town.

Please tell us about your company.

I'm the founder and CEO of Orgella Media – a company specifically focused on online and broadcast media. Orgella Media was founded in 2011 while I was still at UJ. The company now houses seven entities, namely:

  • Orgella Communications – PR and Marketing Agency;
  • Orgella Helping Hands – A charity foundation aimed at lending a helping hand to the less fortunate;
  • Orgella Online Entertainment – Entertainment blog, covering local and international entertainment news;
  • Orgella Productions – Creative design agency;
  • Allegro Eats – Food, travel and lifestyle blog; and
  • Boss Chiq SA – women's online fashion boutique and empowerment movement.

Outside of the media industry, I recently ventured into the property business with my real estate investment company, Orgella Properties.

What are some of the challenges you come across as a young businesswoman and how do you over come them?

I haven't encountered any major challenges, but I must say it's not easy or glamorous. In the early stages, my biggest challenge was not being taken seriously at my age. I was once told I'm too young and inexperienced to run a media company, but I did it anyway.

What advice would you give a young woman who’d like to follow your path?

Make sure you’re passionate about the business. Loving what you do will keep you motivated even if there is very little or no money coming in yet. Be prepared to work around the clock; entrepreneurship is not a 9–5 job. Find a mentor and always be willing to learn from mistakes. Also, put God first and you’ll never be last. WAKE. PRAY. SLAY!

Kelebogile Mabunda, 25, KLM Publicity

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I studied public relations and communications at UJ.

Please tell us about your company.

KLM Publicity (PTY) LTD is a public relations and communication firm representing lifestyle brands as well as corporate/CSI campaigns and projects. We specialise in tailoring communication strategies and establishing a voice for clients to syndicate the right brand/key messages in their specific targeted market and mediums. The aim is to create exposure, build positive brand awareness and help clients achieve a cohesive brand message and perception. We focus on developing and strategically executing targeted press campaigns in order to gain brand recognition for clients. To consistently present clients with the most sought after media placements and coverage clippings, KLM Publicity seeks out the opportunities and maintains relationships with the targeted media platforms. We directly collaborate with each client in order to develop a unique, creative, and goal-driven public relations campaign that will maximise accurate brand awareness, create the right perception and build the brand’s visibility in the market space.

I’ve been running the business for three years now. I started as a freelancer and registered the business in 2013. I got to a point where I wanted to choose my own clients, work on brands I believed in, curate and execute campaigns systematically the ways I know best and the business bug bit me and I never looked back.

What are some of the challenges you come across as a young businesswoman and how do you over come them?

Sustainable capital is difficult to attain. It’s vital for businesses to sign retainer contracts and have a few projects that come and go, however a monthly income is key and impacts on the company’s growth. When I started, I focused on working on projects/campaigns and events, which are either three months contracts or a month depending on the scope of work.  I later on understood that retainer clients add more value to the business as the contracts usually varies from 12 months to 36 months, creating sustainable income for the business.

What advice would you give a young woman who’d like to follow your path?

First of all, you have to understand the craft and the theory behind public relations, and the role it plays in the market space. And it is NOT marketing nor is it free advertising. It’s NOT about being an artist’s booking manager. To understand PR properly, you must to study the course at an accredited tertiary institution, work for a PR Agency and manage multiple accounts before going solo and most importantly never ever stop learning. The minute you think you know everything, it’s the minute you lose it. The PR industry is never stagnant, things change everyday and people move around on a daily.  You need to be able to work with people, be a team player all the time, be patient and never be too shy to follow up with stakeholders, clients, and media.

Phindile Matroshe Mtshali, 27, At Handle PR

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I studied drama at the National School of the Arts, then corporate communications at UJ.

Please tell us about your company.

I started At Handle PR company with my friend and business partner Modiegi Maja in February 2015. I was on the Tropika boat-cruise with Tumi Masemola, who’s one of our clients. She expressed her personal need for someone to handle all her publicity relations and take care of her brand reputation as she was about to release her solo career. After endless conversations with her, Modiegi and rapper Nadia Nakai, who also encouraged us to open the company, we decided the time was perfect and the service was in demand.

We do public relations on a 360 degree: social media for individuals/corporates, and brand and artist management.

What are some of the challenges you come across as a young businesswoman and how do you overcome them?

The industry is already saturated and competitive, but I find women tend to not support one another. We’re still trying to overcome this challenge by speaking out and practicing what we preach. No business can exist in a bubble. Instead of pushing people out or serving as gatekeepers of knowledge, we need to share and embrace one another in order to build other female entrepreneurs.

What advice would you give a young woman who’d like to follow your path?

Study hard. Push through the clutter and be yourself, and have confidence in who you are and don’t try to be a man. You made it to where you are through hard work and perseverance. Don't conform yourself to a man's idea of what a leader should look like.

Tshepy Matloga, 28, Chronicles Media Group

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I studied journalism at Tshwane University of Technology.

Please tell us about your company.

I got my first job at a PR agency and when my contract expired I knew this was the field I wanted to be in. I started my company in 2014 after being unemployed for a year and surviving on freelancing as a feature articles writer. With the money I saved, I was able to secure an office and Chronicles Media Group was born. We do corporate communications, brand management, social media management, we blog about African developments to restore the image of the continent to the international community. We recently launched the first ever women's lifestyle and business magazine in Malawi called Inde.

What are some of the challenges you come across as a young businesswoman and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is competing with big businesses to secure clients, especially now that the economy isn't too great. But if you want to in the big league you have to swim with the sharks!

What advice would you give a young woman who’d like to follow your path?

There's no better time to follow your dreams than now when you're still young, able and have the energy to dive into any situation. Not knowing how something works gives you a perfect opportunity to go figure out, and that is the beauty of innovation, a new venture and/or entrepreneurship.

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