Originally a recruitment agency for au pairs, babysitters and tutors, Wissing expanded her business to launch a transportation service business catering to unaccompanied children from babies right up to university students.

What’s unique about Old School Cool is the fact that Wissing only hires women to transport the children because she finds it gives mothers’ comfort.

She also sends her drivers for training in first aid, defensive driving techniques, childcare and hijack prevention as well as courses on what constitutes appropriate conversation with children.

A British study released earlier this year found that women were indeed better drivers than men.

Assessed using 14 different criteria, the study found that women scored 23,6 out of 30 possible points, as compared with men, who scored 19,8.

“We aim to be unlike any other service on the market. Our focus on safety and personalised lifting – we work to clients’ schedules, so our clients don’t have to fit in with our predetermined collection times – sets us apart. Our control room and the detail with which they track and monitor the vehicles on the road mean that our drivers are never alone,” Wissing said in an interview with SME South Africa.

Since launching her business in 2009 with just her own car, she’s managed to grow her fleet to 20 vehicles, operating all over Jo’burg.

Wissing was recently crowned the winner of the Sage One/702 Small Business Awards and plans to expand the service to Pretoria over the next year and – eventually – countrywide.

As access to finance remains one of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs, she said small business owners shouldn’t let this deter them, but serve as motivation to find a creative solution to the problem.

“Without a credit record or capital, I was hardly investable. I thus had to work with what I had – my own car – and build on that… As the finances proved themselves each year, I have pushed the banks to finance additional vehicles,” she said.

Her advice to emerging entrepreneurs was to persevere, work hard and create opportunities.

“Be creative, not defeated. There is a solution to every perceived problem. Never underestimate the power of remaining positive,” she said.

Source: SME South Africa