Mofokeng’s experience as a township entrepreneur is that there isn’t sufficient support for local ventures.
She says she’s often had to travel to the suburbs to attend events supporting entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, she has benefitted from corporate support.
In 2014, she won R130 000 in the SAB KickStart competition, the corporate’s enterprise development programme.
“I used the money as my start-up capital and bought all the tools I needed to operate. I’m in business today because of that competition,” says Mofokeng.
Her workshop – based in Katlehong, east of Jo’burg – offers customised aluminium windows, sliding doors, gates and garages to commercial and residential properties.
While Mofokeng has the equipment to operate her business, her main difficulty is finding clientele who can pay her prices.
“Many people like my products, but can’t afford them. I also feel that people in the suburbs discriminate against my services because of where I’m working,” she adds.
While some of her challenges stem from the lack of opportunities in the township, she says her greatest obstacle is gender prejudice, something also experienced by many women across the spatial divide.
“Part of the journey is disproving the stereotype about women. It’s not about having a strong body: it’s about having a strong mind,” she says.
Her job is physically taxing, as she has to carry the heavy aluminium gates and windows herself.
With a turnover of just under R150 000, Mofokeng – who participated as a speaker at Levi’s Pioneer Nation Festival – says her growth strategy now involves networking with people outside the township in order to access more information and opportunities.
This article was first published in the March 2017 issue of DESTINY.