How a black- and female-owned business is becoming a township success

Tshwanelo Ntshudisane left her career in marketing to start not one but two township businesses

Tshwanelo Ntshudisane founder of Yvega Communications.
Tshwanelo Ntshudisane founder of Yvega Communications.
Image: Supplied.

Tshwanelo Ntshudisane hails from Kgabalatsane in Pretoria, where she got her first big break as a marketing assistant at Times Media Group.

She left the position to start her own communications business, Yvega Communications, as well as Marble Rose, which began as a concierge and gifting agency and later added logistics as a service.

Ntshudisane tells us how she turned a huge leap of faith into two profitable businesses.

What inspired you to move from marketing to logistics?

“I read a lot of entrepreneurial books and I remember reading that when you start a business, you need to solve a problem. I saw that there were a lot of small businesses in the townships that were trying to flourish and get themselves out there. As I assist them with their marketing, I also assist them with the distribution side through Marble Rose.”

How did you pick the name for your businesses?

“Marble Rose was just a name that popped into my head. I wish I had an interesting story. The only interesting story is Yvega, which comes from my grandparents, Yvonne and Garamase. “

How do you juggle your responsibilities between the two companies?

“It’s very difficult especially because I do not have any business employees. I do everything myself – for now. I work very long work hours, and I just schedule my day accordingly. I work anything between 5am to 8pm juggling both Marble Rose and Yvega Communications. It’s just a matter of scheduling my day.”

What difficulties have you faced as a black businesswoman?

“The biggest challenge is getting people to believe you – for them to actually become your clients is a lot of work. At some point I spent almost a year doing most of the work for free because you have to prove yourself. You have to prove you know what you’re doing. Especially when you don’t have a track record in the specific industry you are in.”

How did you deal with that?

“Doing a lot of work for free helped me build my profile. As soon as I mentioned the small businesses I’ve worked with to large businesses, they started trusting me. They saw my portfolio; they saw I know what I’m talking about – especially in the township where my passion is.

“Social media also helped me a lot, especially on Twitter. I’ve got quite a number of followers. I think I’m on 4,000. It’s not a large number but people trust what I tweet and what I talk about. It makes it easier for them to trust me with my work.”

What has been your biggest highlight?

“I can’t take their success upon myself, but I think it’s seeing the businesses I have helped grow. That’s what I love seeing happen the most.”

What advice can you give to young black women in business who are scared of starting their own ventures?

“Start with what you have. When I started my businesses, I literally did not have anything. I quit my job and I had to start from the ground. A lot of people think that when you don’t have enough money or enough resources, you can’t do anything. To a certain extent it’s true but also you need to start with what you have. That is very important. And also, once you start, don’t stop. “

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