By Dikeledi Molobela
Pics by Seipati Langa
The epitome of black excellence and an advocate for youth empowerment are two apt descriptors for Bathabile Moreki.
An entrepreneur at heart, Bathabile who champions township development and was recently nominated as one of the 100 Women of Fortitude to advance struggle stalwart, Albertina Sisulu’s legacy, is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Bathabile is the CEO and founder of Nothile Consulting, a consultancy firm that helps small businesses through mentorship to operate formally. She also gives mentorship on franchising.
She started her first business in 2013 when she bought into a food chain franchise, after she was funded by the National Empowerment Fund.
“I learnt from there that there is a vast difference between a franchise and starting a business from scratch,” she says.
This was in particular because people choose to buy into brands they know. This is why franchising gives results quicker than starting a completely new business.
“When you want to franchise you’ve got system in place, employees, stock, everything is there. But when I started interacting with other entrepreneurs I learnt that there are challenges with access to market and finance,” she said.
From there Bathabile never looked back and has made it her mission to mentor township entrepreneurs who want to buy a franchise or grow their business.
To aid this crusade she launched the Township Economic Transformation initiative, which continues to empower many.
“With this initiative I am trying to say let’s adopt this (the franchise) model for our businesses so that they can grow,” says the woman who is also a youth ambassador for the National Development Plan (NDP) which has set a target of 11 million jobs by 2030.
She believes that there is neglected business potential in the township.
“There is potential market in the township but I feel like we neglect it, so I decided to help township entrepreneurs. From that passion a new business was created. I am making quite a difference because we also help to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge they need to be successful. We host workshops and share information they need to also get funding,” she says.
“The people we have helped are growing in their businesses,” Bathabile shares.
Besides mentoring entrepreneurs, she also advices unemployed youth to start their own businesses.
She admits that not everyone is a born entrepreneur but believes that small businesses can eradicate joblessness.
“In my bid to fight the unemployment rate I always tell the youth that while you are looking for a job, use the resources that you have at home, for example your phone or laptop and the internet to look up small business ideas and follow them up. While you are busy with your business you accumulate knowledge and experience,” she says.
Her inclusion in the list of 100 Women of Fortitude has boosted her morale she says the Qwa Qwa born.
“I didn’t even know who nominated me, it made me realise that people are looking at the contribution we are striving to make. Sometimes you are not sure whether people understand what you are trying to do, so it was such an honour it also gave me a boost to continue,” she concludes.