Yoco Meets | Women in Business: Thriving as Underdogs

8th September 2021

Every year in South Africa, we have celebrated women from all walks of life for initiating change in 1956. As an organisation, our mission is to empower the business people of SA. In August, we did precisely that when we launched the “We The Underdog” campaign and hosted our annual Yoco Meets – Women in Business event. It was a resounding success with a virtual attendance of over 1000 participants across Crowdcast, Facebook and YouTube. The event was held on Thursday, 26 August 2021, at Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg. Our host was Pelontle Mosimege, the founder of SheBrigade, as well as two of our merchants, Mokgadi Mabela, owner of Native Nosi, and Divya Vasant, owner of AmaziSHETribe. These ladies are an inspiration who are also thriving underdogs. 

A lot of insight was shared with our audience, and these were the top five take-outs:

1. Do not mistake passion for purpose

For Divya, passion is only one ingredient for success. Over the years, she has noticed that sometimes passions change. If you want your business to be viable, frame it around a purpose and solve a problem. If you do that well, your business will thrive.

The most sustainable businesses solve real needs and real problems.

2. Just start

Mokgadi is a firm believer that the best way to get things done is to start with what you have. Nobody will invest in someone who sits in a corner and does nothing. Native Nosi, a company that produces and sells honey, wax, and by-products that are organic and indigenous, has been in business for five years, yet they do not have a bee farm. The business is a true testament to using what you have to get started in building your dreams.

Angels are gonna come, but they have to find you doing something.

3. Learn to trust your gut

Divya had to adapt and reposition her role as an advisor. Coming from the corporate world where she learnt to ignore her gut, she had to re-learn how to trust herself again.

I made some bad decisions where I trusted other people that I shouldn’t have, and I got badly burnt for that. When that happened, I realised that I had to sit down with myself, and I had to figure out how to trust my instincts.

4. Focus on your Y

For Mokgadi, it is essential to always focus on your Y. She believes that you should concentrate on why you are doing what you are doing.

It’s not necessarily that I wanted to shut out the rest of the world, but more so to focus on trying to achieve what I want Native Nosi to become.

5. Collaboration is key

Starting and growing a business does not have to be a solitary journey. Divya went through a process of self-doubt and fear when she started. However, once she began collaborating with other entrepreneurs, she grew her business by tapping into new markets through collaborations. For Mokgadi, collaboration has been a growth tool for Native Nosi. She describes it as “The process of cross-pollination”, as you get exposed to a different clientele. For both our speakers, collaboration has helped them grow their businesses and enabled them to learn from others on the same journey. 

It is important to recognise the thriving underdogs in business, and it’s just as critical to support and celebrate women in business.

Sibahle Teyise

Sibahle looks after Events and Online Community at Yoco. She has more than 5 years experience in Events Management and is passionate about conceptualising and executing events that help brands connect with their community.