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Bravo takes a bow

Sep 13 2012 14:30

Tabisa Nomnganga, Sanlam/Business Partners 2012 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year winner

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Tabisa Nomnganga was recently awarded the 2012 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year title in the annual Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

This determined businesswoman lets nothing stand in the way of achieving her dreams. She spoke to Fin24 about herself and her company Bravo Promotions. 

Who are you and where are you from?

I was born on June 14 1979 in Langa, a township in Cape Town.

I’m the elder of two daughters. After matriculating in 1998 from the Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt, I went on to obtain a BCom degree in industrial psychology.

I obtained a BCom honours degree in business management from the University of South Africa in 2006. In 2001 I was involved in a tragic accident which left me paralysed and thus wheelchair-bound.

I worked for Standard Bank and left in 2003 to join the CCMA as their case management officer. I left full-time employment in 2009 to start my own business.

In May 2012 at the Seda Stars Business Plan Awards I received two awards: the first for the most promising female entrepreneur, and the second as runner-up in the entrepreneur with a disability category.

Recently at the Sanlam/ Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Awards, I walked away with the Emerging Business Entrepreneur award.

How old is your business and what does it do?

My business is called Bravo Promotions and it’s been running for almost three years now. It was founded in November 2009.

Bravo Promotions is a below-the-line agency specialising in brand activations, communication campaigns and promotions.

We execute our campaigns and activations mainly in the townships, targeting LSM 1 to 6 and using theatre, dance and performance.

We provide means for brands to interact, connect and reach thousands of consumers where traditional media cannot do so.

I wanted to create a platform for brands and companies to connect with their consumers in a creative manner and interact with them in a language they understand.

How many people does the company employ?

I currently have three full-time employees and over 50 part-time promoters, dancers and performers.

How do you find the SA entrepreneurship scene?

The unemployment rate in South Africa is very high, especially among young people, and some of the unemployed are starting businesses to change their situation.

It is hoped that these businesses will grow profitably and create much-needed jobs.

Some of the key problems facing entrepreneurs in South Africa are:

  • Lack of funding: entrepreneurs face many uphill battles to secure funding, and get bogged down in all the red tape. They don’t know where else to look for funding when banks turn them down.
  • Lack of entrepreneurial skills: most entrepreneurs have no idea how to run a business. They don’t know how to register a company, or the implications of the type of business registered. Pricing and marketing is also a major challenge.
  • Lack of support and recognition: very few corporates and government institutions support entrepreneurship.

With small business expected to create the much-needed jobs, incubators play a major role in helping them grow and become sustainable.

Incubators provide the necessary business infrastructure and strategic guidance, as well as an environment where information can be freely exchanged.

In South Africa we need more organisations like Sanlam, Business Partners and Seda who will accelerate entrepreneurship programmes.

Small businesses are said to fail in their first years of existence. The main reason for this failure is lack of support.

Is business going well? What are you happy with and what would you like to improve/change?

The business is growing at a very good pace. On our books we have a good variety of clients ranging from small to big corporate, and we saw our annual turnover increasing by 68% from the previous financial year.

I’m quite happy with how things are at the moment. I’m slowly reaping the rewards of all the hard work I put in.

What are your goals for the company?

I want to get my name out there and make sure I sign up more clients. My ultimate goal is to have a national footprint and execute campaigns nationally.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Follow your passion, work hard and persevere; nothing comes on a silver platter. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Sometimes goals can seem so daunting, but you should never lose faith. After all, it is your responsibility to make your dreams come true.


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