The five finalists in our Entrepreneur Competition are all innovative South African entrepreneurs, with diverse businesses. They’re also a nice bunch of people, with inspiring personal stories and perspectives on our country.
In a previous article, we provided profiles of the finalists’ businesses. Now we offer personal profiles, so you can get to know the finalists in the lead-up to the competition finale, on 13 September.
Dwyka Mining Services: Rethabile Letlala
Dwyka Mining Services is a results-driven company offering technological and consultancy based solutions to underground mining operations in Africa.
Rethabile M. Letlala, or Thabi, was proudly born and raised in Lesotho, and completed his high-school and tertiary education in South Africa. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a National Diploma in IT: Intelligent Industrial Systems.
Thabi is in his element when handling the tech and support side of the company. He says, “I am passionate about technology and what it can do for people. I love solving problems with technology.”
Thabi is a poet and artist, and his current weapon of choice is his camera. He also admits to being “a total nerd or rather ‘otaku’” – he collects Pokémon and Digimon cards, comic books and graphic novels, likes gaming and enjoys anime.
When he’s not at work, Thabo says he’s at home with his awesome family.
We asked what Thabo most likes about South Africa. His answer: “The people and our potential! As a child raised in the same dusty streets, I recognize the potential in the next person – given the right opportunities and having that personal drive, we can do great things.”
Loyal1: Tshireletso TY Hlangwane
Founded in 2015, Loyal1 offers businesses and their customers a cloud-based platform for managing loyalty card systems.
Tshireletso TY Hlangwane was born in Soshanguve, Pretoria. He let us in on an interesting fact – both his grandfathers were kings in their tribes. He’s the first-born son of the youngest son, making him consigliere to the Tsonga tribe of the Hlangwane’s. Also interesting – his great-grandfather was the first official owner of the railway from Pretoria to Limpopo.
Tshireletso studied Marketing Management at the Vaal Triangle Campus of North-West University. He started his business after seeing a gap in the market.
He says he’s most passionate about improving the lives of other people, currently by improving how they shop via the loyal1 app.
When he’s not at work, Tshireletso’s interests include developing grass-roots soccer in his township.
He also owns two recording studios, which he allows up-and-coming musicians to use for free.
Asked about South Africa, he says what he likes most is the variety of cultures. He also offers this quotation from Thabo Mbeki: “I am an African. I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades…the ever-chasing seasons that define the face of our native land.”
Matla Risk Management Services: Thabo Moodie
Matla Risk Management Services is a finance solution company that focuses on assisting South African spaza shops and SMEs.
Thabo Moodie was raised in Bloemfontein. He attended the school where his mom worked as a teacher – so he was obliged to do well! He notes he takes after his dad, who’s an entrepreneur and more of a risk taker.
Thabo studied Accounting at the University of the Free State. After working in financial services, he started his company because he believed he had a great idea. He currently does everything for the business, from conceptualising and selling to fetching the post.
He says he’s most passionate about “helping people and watching them grow.” He also cautions that it’s necessary to verify situations before giving his trust and to help in a controlled, systematic manner.
Thabo is mad about soccer, and let us know that he once made it onto the reserve side of a professional team.
He has travelled in Africa and to Singapore, and would like to visit plenty of other countries too.
Asked about South Africa, Thabo says he likes the cool people, perfect weather, mountains, and beaches. He also says, “…we still need to work hard as a country for all of the great stuff” and to make it accessible and affordable to all who live here.
Minatlou Trading 251: Mpho Patience Mpatane
Minatlou Trading 251 supplies women’s personal protective clothing and equipment for use on construction sites, along with a range of office equipment products and consumables. The company has also started manufacturing corporate uniforms.
Mpho Patience Mpatane – Mphokie for short – was born and raised in the small Free State town of Wesselsbron.
Mphokie founded her business because she wanted to start and build something to be proud of. She says, “I am extremely passionate about helping and empowering other women and demonstrating how powerful collaborations are.”
Mphokie loves learning new things, and is interested in finding out more about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and positioning her business to transition into this era.
She also likes reading and spending time with her nieces and nephews. Her mom and dad have been married for an impressive 56 years, and Mphokie notes that they’re great role models.
We asked what makes Mphokie happiest. We love her list of answers:
- singing and dancing when noone is watching
- hearing my one-year-old nephew laugh when I tickle him
- bringing a smile to someone’s face
- helping someone out of a challenging situation by helping them come up with solutions and proving to them how clever or strong they are, without expecting anything in return.
Among the things she says she loves about South Africa is “our resilience and the ability to create our own solutions, given the opportunity.”
Sindis Best for All: Sindiswa Beverly Molete
Founded in Soweto in 2000, Sindis Best for All is an event catering company that offers professional catering and events management for both private and corporate events.
Sindiswa Beverley Molete – Sindi for short – started Sindis Best for All after her husband, Thabo Molete, fell ill and lost his job. It turned out that Sindi had a real taste and flair for the business. She loves working with people and making their events memorable.
Sindi applied for and was fortunate to secure an economic development partnership through Nestlé Professionals, enabling her to enrol in culinary classes and expand her knowledge of the hospitality industry. She also earned a BA communications degree from the Rand Afrikaans University.
She says, “I am passionate about my work and do not compromise on the quality we give each and every client, no matter the budget. What makes me happy is the testimonials we get in on a daily basis…”
When Sindi isn’t running her business, she’s a mom to Lesedi Molete and, in her free time, enjoys reading, cooking and being with family and friends. She says she’d love to go to Paris one day!
On 13 September, the winner of our Entrepreneur Competition will be announced. Good luck to the finalists!