Lynette Magasa on achieving growth across the continent

As the founder and CEO of Boniswa Corporate Solutions, Lynette Magasa has achieved unbridled success in five African countries and she’s got ambitious plans

Magasa launched Boniswa Solutions, which provides services for major organisations in the telecommunications field, in 2004. Over the past 12 years the company has created technologies that have transformed people’s lives and created meaningful employment opportunities for some 150 employees. She has proved to be a powerhouse in a sector still dominated by men.

Building a brand

The biggest challenge Magasa faced in getting the business off the ground was obtaining financial support from various financial institutions and a lack of support from male clients.

“Boniswa overcame the stereotype of being ‘an incompetent company run by a female’ by always delivering on time or even before deadline,” says Magasa. “We also went the extra mile on every project. Consequently, we now have the confidence of various financial institutions and our clients.”

Education is of utmost importance to Magasa who has studied for most of her working life. She has an MTech degree in Information Technology and is currently studying towards an MBA.

Education, whether in a classroom or from life, is an important driving force, she says. “I have come to realise that with every achievement I make towards my pursuit of knowledge, the more of an impact I have on my employees and communities.”

Stumbling blocks

Boniswa’s reputation saw it become the first female-owned company to be awarded a project-management contract for MTN after a vigorous vetting process. In 2013, however, the company lost the contract.

“Losing MTN at that time was indeed hard for Boniswa, however, we had other clients so the business managed to sustain itself,” says Magasa. “While it was hard to lose such a big contract, I leaned on my grandmother’s words: when one door closes, many others open. The fact that we are here today, proves it!”

Expanding the company

In 2008, Boniswa was awarded the opportunity to roll out a big project in Zambia. By mobilising all resources, the team worked hard to ensure that the project was successful, which segmented the company’s reputation outside South Africa.

“Our successful execution of this project, coupled with excellent references meant we could approach other clients and participate in different projects,” says Magasa. “As a result, we have been able to implement projects across different countries, enabling us to grow our expertise and footprint on the continent.”

Today the business is also operational in Swaziland and Mozambique and there are plans to expand beyond the African continent and become a global player. Magasa is also set on creating 1 500 jobs and getting listed on the stock exchange.

So, to what does she attribute her success? “I’m an eternal optimist, therefore I always believe there is a solution to every challenge. I’m also fortunate that I have a solid team that I trust and which trusts me.

“We have a shared vision to create meaningful jobs to sustain our company for the next generation. My success is attributed to the whole company – to our team,” she concludes.

Magasa’s success secrets:

  • Believe that you can do it
  • Exploit what you have
  • Invest in self-development
  • Be disciplined
  • Always keep your eye on the ball