Dad and daughter put hearts and souls into events business

Nicole Msibi, co-owner of Before Time Indlondlo Events, a catering and decor equipment hire business in Soweto.
Nicole Msibi, co-owner of Before Time Indlondlo Events, a catering and decor equipment hire business in Soweto.
Image: SUPPLIED

It's a Protea Glen, Soweto-based father and daughter enterprise, specialising in decor, catering and events equipment hire.

Prior to the launch of Before Time Indlondlo Events, a gap in the market was identified about five years ago and business has grown steadily, with a strong 70% year-on-year growth this year.

C0-founder Nicole Msibi and her father Nick Msibi had both been in the hospitality industry for some time, she in catering and as a function organiser and her father a chef for 30 years.

They noticed that at practically every event in Soweto, equipment was hired. It made sense to invest in the sector. Dad Msibi resigned from his job and with his pension package, they set up their business, with a warehouse for equipment.

Having her own business had been a dream of Msibi's and they put their hearts and souls - and lots of sacrifice - into making it a success.

"What makes the business special is that we don't only talk service. We make sure our customers experience value-added service that goes beyond just providing equipment for hire."

They recently extended their portfolio to include doing decor at events and catering to harness dad Msibi's chef skills.

While their focus is on Gauteng, particularly Soweto and surrounds, the business's reach is "all over the country."

Before Time has four directors - all family members - four permanent staff members, and four part-time employees.

Staff training and development is according to passion and skills, said Msibi, whose responsibilities in the company include operations and customer management, office administration and book-keeping.

"In future, I intend to enrol staff on courses that will encourage and grow them as individuals, and the company as well."

Future plans include a strong market penetration strategy to grow the business and become well known. At this stage, Msibi is proud of the fact that Before Time has been given the opportunity to service major clients such as Sandton Convention Centre, Rand Club, and Bidvest.

She has also identified a need in Soweto for an efficiently run conference centre that can accommodate about 200 people - for meetings, conferences, celebrations, weddings, and other events.

"In future, I intend to enrol staff on courses that will encourage and grow them as individuals, and the company as well."

Msibi, who was born in Soweto and grew up in Escourt, KwaZulu-Natal, has two children, a teenage daughter and a nine-year-old daughter.

She also has three siblings, and while the family is separated by distance, they are close.

Social upliftment and "giving back" is also important. Before Time supports vulnerable children, providing school girls with sanitary protection, school fees for children who cannot afford to pay, and school shoes for those who don't have any.

Msibi joined the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year programme at the end of last year.

"The programme means a lot to me. I have gained self-esteem and I can communicate with people more easily. The coaching helped me believe in myself, work on my goals, collaborate with other businesses in my area, and hold regular staff meetings," she said.

As a finalist, it helped her improve business strategy, and financial and marketing skills.

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