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Establishing myself in business was an uphill battle.
What has stood me in good stead is that I am married to a supportive husband who is the force behind all my endeavours.
Being declared the overall winner of the inaugural Mageu Number 1 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award came as a complete surprise, and remains a source of pride.
It brought home the truth to me that the little I was doing - by way of keeping the wolf from the door - was being acknowledged, recognised and appreciated.
Admittedly, as we go about with whatever needs to be done to advance our businesses, accolades and pats on the back do not actually and consciously feature in one's thinking and reckoning.
It might sound like a cliche but starting a business is no walk in the park.
Starting a business today is a nightmare, if one has to consider all the related legislative requirements and other requisites.
I am a teacher by training. But I have never stood in front of a class.
My qualification in teaching did not stand me in good stead as far as my entrepreneurial pursuits were concerned.
It is for that reason that my respect, pride and a sense of wonder go out to all those women who like my late mother can go out there and venture into business, especially in view of all the myriad of challenges I mentioned earlier.
Women's resilience in what was previously a men-only environment attests to the fact that no matter how difficult it may be to start a business, it is possible for most of us to try our hand at starting and sustaining a business.
l The author owns and runs the Dee Decor House, which was established in 1995.
Agnes Malebane started the business as a small curtain-making and re-upholstery venture.
This is an excerpt from the motivational speech she made to more than 300 established, emerging and aspirant women entrepreneurs during the Gauteng leg of the Sowetan Women's Club (SWC) held recently.
The SWC has more than 30000 members nationwide.
At the awards gala held in Johannesburg in March, Malebane scooped the R15000 cash prize.
Runners-up Motshidisi Tau and Fikile Dlamini were given R7000 and R4 000 respectively.
The other finalists were Pauline Zwane, Elizabeth Morumudi, Matshediso Lekgwathi, Nomzamo Ndlovu, Nonhlanhla Bhebe, Thandiwe Ngonelo, Nelly Mashifane and Johanna Sealetsa.