Family home turned into a business venture

Granny Mangena.
Granny Mangena.
Image: Fetola.

Granny Mangena is a woman on a mission who started her entrepreneurial journey after spotting a gap in the market.

Today she is the Lapologa Group founder and CEO, that owns two bed and breakfasts and one guest house in Limpopo.

From an early age, she had her sights set on making it to the top.

“I have always wanted to be a CEO from a young age, even though I did not fully know then what being a CEO meant,” she said. Her childhood dream has become a reality because she saw a business opportunity and grabbed it.  

“My previous job required a lot of travelling, and they would always book me into hotels. In those days guesthouses and bed and breakfasts were perceived as dirty establishments with a lack of business facilities,” said Mangena.  

That is when her entrepreneurial instincts kicked in and she took a leap of faith by resigning from her corporate job to start what is now a successful hospitality business.

Mangena, now has accommodation establishments in Polokwane, Tzaneen and Phalaborwa, offers guests an array of services that seek to make business travel to the area more comfortable.

Amenities include a complimentary business area with printers, faxing facilities, as well as fibre connectivity. Lapologa is an award-winning business venture that has won several accolades including three Lilizela Tourism Awards and Sanlam Top destination awards.

However, the road to success came with challenges and sacrifices. Mangena and her family had to give up their home and move into a flat so she could turn the family home into the first Lapologa accommodation establishment.

The worldwide pandemic also wreaked havoc on the business that relies heavily on travel and tourism. To keep her business afloat, Mangena started offering catering services at funerals as well as aggressively marketing her accommodation to companies that were declared essential services to accommodate their staff.

As a mother to triplets, she also believes that her ability to manage her time effectively allows her to sustain a level of balance which ensures she can reach her business and personal goals.

 “I could not have achieved all this success without the support of my husband Maboku Mangena who played a role in helping me start the business,” she said. Entrepreneurs need a strong support system for them to grow. 

Mangena’s advice to entrepreneurs is for them stay focused on what they want to achieve. “Start a business you are passionate about, have a positive mindset and believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to,” she said.

Mangena believes in giving back to the community by supporting a local primary school with academic awards and resources such as uniforms and she also supports an orphanage with space to do homework and meals.

Despite her many achievements, the businesswoman still has her eyes set on even bigger prospects. She hopes to one day own conferencing facilities that can accommodate up to 500 delegates. “I’m confident that I will make my dreams come true,” she concludes.