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WHEN Delta Tefu started selling flowers at Telkom's basement parking area in Pretoria more than a decade ago she never dreamt that she would one dayown her own florist.
Thanks to her determination and Telkom's support and enterprise programme, the 62-year-old mother of two grown-up children is the proud owner of a competitive flower shop.
Telkom allocated the shop to Tefu of Mamelodi West in Pretoria at their Proes Street office in the city centre. It is a perfect spot for such a business to blossom.
The company will pay the rent for the first five years.
The programme covers skills training in business and operations fundamentals as well as guidance and advice for six months.
The programme includes customer service and interpersonal skills training, finance, labour relations, marketing and an understanding of the basic conditions of employment.
Popularly known as MaDelta, Tefu was also assisted in drawing up employment contracts and Unemployment Insurance Fund registration for her six staff members.
Telkom has also made resources available to help Tefu with finance and the marketing of her Delta Florist Shop.
Tefu started working at Coroner Florist as an assistant in the 60s. Two years later she moved to the now defunct Marianus Flowers, where she was given the responsibility of manning the shop single-handedly.
Instead of seeking alternative employment when this business folded a year later, Tefu started supplying and arranging flowers for Telkom's library.
This earned her a reputation as a passionate florist. Her creative touch with flowers was soon recognised and before long she was supplying flowers to all six receptions at the Telkom Towers North and South buildings. She also did floral arrangements for employees of the company.
"When my husband died in 1974 I was left with two children to raise with the little I earned, but I managed to put them through school.
"I knew God would never put a weight on me that I could not carry," Tefu said. "I am a hard worker by nature and everything that I do, I do passionately. I believe that these qualities catapulted me to where I am today."
She conducted her burgeoning entrepreneurship from a small room on one of Telkom's parking areas.
Apart from space constraints, these premises were not entirely conducive to Tefu's flowers lasting for a long time.
Though her work entails long hours, Tefu remains enthusiastic and undeterred.
"I will expand the business and employ more people. I love flowers. They are important because they cheer everyone up," she explained.
"Now, with Telkom's help, my prayers of running a professional store have been answered."
Tefu urged young people to stop complaining about a lack of employment, to roll up their sleeves and grab the opportunities that are readily available to them.
Telkom head of corporate affairs Charmaine Houvet said Tefu's empowerment project was a learning curve for them and that is why they needed an entrepreneur with a humble background.
"This was to take her from the point of an informal florist to a fully-fledged businesswoman," Houvet said.
"The empowerment was designed in such a way that by the time the corporate walks away the beneficiary is sufficiently empowered to sustain her business."