Black female-owned company launches two new digital platforms

Marilyn Radebe’s Soma Solutions an ICT giant in the making

Mpho Koka Intern reporter
Founder and CEO of Soma-Solutions Marilyn Radebe says Edu Supply aims to help save parents time and money
Founder and CEO of Soma-Solutions Marilyn Radebe says Edu Supply aims to help save parents time and money
Image: Soma-Solutions Media Archive

Marilyn Radebe, who runs a female black-owned company, is breaking new ground in the Information and Communications Technology industry (ICT).

Radebe, who grew up in Ennerdale and Eldorado Park, is the founder and CEO of the Soma Solutions group of companies.

Soma Solutions is an IT company that focuses its efforts on developing and driving digitally-driven solutions for SMMEs and large enterprises. The company has invested time and resources in understanding the technology industry to identify gaps in current businesses and the IT environment.

The 39-year-old businesswoman, who founded Soma Solutions in 2008, said it was her older brother’s work in the ICT industry that had made her develop an interest in the IT space.

“My older brother was working within the ICT industry. He used to always expose me to a world of ICT through the conferences he would attend. And I saw ICT professionals working, the cars they were driving, the lifestyles they were living. So, it formed a thing in my head that I am going to study this,” said Radebe.

“I was introduced to this world of ICT from a young age [15-years-old] and seeing who the players in the industry are from a young age. And one thing that stood out for me was that most of the ICT companies and even the homegrown ICT companies like OBCX, Gijima [Group], those type of companies, they were not women-owned. Women were not operating at that level.”

“I told myself that I want to have an ICT company that is women-owned because I see that there is a gap in that space. For me it was important to go into delivery, meaning focusing on learning how to build a system, going through the various levels of development within ICT. It was important for me to know that when you say you are building a platform, to know where you start, where you end. So I Iiterally did that, from being a junior database administrator, and I worked myself all the way up to being a service delivery manager and that enabled me to finish the whole delivery cycle in terms of what it takes to fulfill a system. And then when I reached that, I was like now I am ready to understand the business aspects around IT because ultimately that’s where I want to go,” she added. 

Soma Solutions recently launched two new digital platforms called Edu Supply and SmartSaver. Edu Supply is an online platform designed to help schools and parents to purchase stationery online, helping them to save money and time. SmartSaver is an online goal-based saving platform created to inspire communities to save and achieve their short-term and long-term financial goals.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of future-proofing our business. Through these two platforms, we are showing entrepreneurs that this can be done through digital. Through technology we can break into any industry and grow existing business operations,” said Radebe.

Soma Solutions’ head offices are based in Midrand with 15 employees, mostly females.

Radebe, a mother of four daughters, has over 18 years experience in the ICT industry and was recently a finalist for the Standard Bank Top Woman in ICT 2020 Award. She serves as a deputy president on the Black IT Forum and as a board member of the Media and Information Communication Technology (MICT) SETA, and on the SA Women in IT Forum.

She holds a BCom Information Systems degree from the University of Cape Town, which she obtained in 2001, and did a management advancement programme at the Wits Business School in 2009. 

She wants to see Soma Solutions grow and expand from where it is.

“I would like to see Soma Solutions grow within the digital platform economy [Edu Supply & SmartSaver], grow our partnership with SAP [software company], and expand our digital transformation business.”

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