Letsoalo-Melwa has had to box clever to keep business afloat
Innovative entrepreneur wants to go national
The secret of survival in entrepreneurship is the ability to adapt to demand.
This is according to Mokgadi Letsoalo-Melwa, 32, who is the founder of Buildfix, a construction company that focuses on property restorations, maintenance for insurance companies and banks.
Her business also supplies innovative building material solutions called Buildkit. This business supplies electrical and plumbing material kits that are packaged according to house plan specifications for multi-unit housing projects.
“We now have a presence in Gauteng and Free State provinces with plans to expand nationally,” she says.
Although most of her clients are insurance companies and banks, she also provides services to individuals and organisations.
“I ventured into the business world in 2014 to pursue my passion and desire to develop and build a successful, sustainable black-owned business while creating a legacy as a full-time entrepreneur,” she says.
Her company has created more than 15 full-time jobs.
Letsoalo-Melwa says the Covid-19 pandemic was a big blow to the construction sector, and it required her company to review its business offering to survive the pandemic.
“It really hit us hard. We had to diversify our business model, which led us to manufacturing surgical masks and surgical overalls to generate an income as these were in demand during various stages of the lockdown,” she says.
Based in Alberton on the East Rand, the Limpopo-born entrepreneur holds a postgraduate diploma in banking and a BCom financial management degree from the University of Johannesburg.
She is also certified by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is now studying towards a master’s in business administration at North West University.
Letsoalo-Melwa says she sees herself as a change agent and an activist within construction who breaks barriers.
“Getting into a space that does not have many young black women has been rewarding and a very challenging journey … it is not an easy path to walk, but it requires one to have a thick skin, a solid support system and to be rooted spiritually,” she says.
Letsoalo-Melwa encourages other black women and the youth to consider starting businesses in the construction space.
Her company has received a business grant from the National Youth Development Agency, which also linked her with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda). Seda is now providing non-financial support in the form of risk management training, costing and pricing.
• This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele
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