Tsholofelo Galane has joined the ranks of powerful black women who have worked tirelessly to find space for women in construction, which has been male dominated for years, and change its face.
Her company, Kopano-Lesego Consulting, specialises in health and safety laws. The mother of two is one of a few black women in the sector to own a consulting firm.
Galane, 37, has been in business for just over two years, but has offered her services to contractors, government departments and private companies, ensuring that they comply with health and safety laws.
Q: What motivated you to start this business and how did you fund it?
A: The construction market was booming and I realised health and safety requirements were becoming stringent for construction companies. I registered a closed corporation while I was still employed. I did not need much funding. I used my home computer for marketing and printed pamphlets and distributed them at tender-briefing meetings. I funded the business until I closed a few short-term contracts and then the business funded itself.
Q: What was the highlight of your career as an entrepreneur?
A: Coming this far on a self-funded model and putting bread on my employees' tables.
Q: What opportunities are there for women in this field?
A: Opportunities are there, but women need to be convincing and must put more effort into reserving a place in this male-dominated field.
Q: What does your job entail?
A: Visiting construction sites and advising on health and safety compliance. I must ensure that they comply. Reports on compliance must be compiled and verified before we present them to clients on a monthly basis.
Q: When you started, were there times when you felt like quitting?
A: It was difficult when cash flow was not good and clients failed to honour payments, but I never felt like quitting. I always had faith and prayed for strength and patience.
Q: Haveyou achieved your ultimate goal or are you still working towards it?
A: I would like to build the company as a brand to be remembered for contributing to emerging companies. I also want to empower my team with experience and qualifications so that they have a future in this field.
Q: What sacrifices did you have to make to ensure the survival of your business?
A: When I first started I lived to work. I worked on weekends and on holidays.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: A motivated individual who is driven to achieve. I am passionate about what I do and my reputation is of the utmost importance.
Q: How do you juggle business and family life?
A: I went into business to have more time with my children, Kopano and Lesego. I manage my time to suit their schedule, and rather work while they sleep.