With over eight years’ experience working in various roles at Procter and Gamble and Nokia International, Mzobe decided to launch her own company in 2013.

“I was volunteering on a business development programme where I mentored and taught women-owned SME businesses,” she explains. “I noticed that SMEs needed more business support services and tools to help them manage and grow sustainable businesses and this inspired me to start Matoyana.”

Empowering entrepreneurs

According to a 2016 report by The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), South Africa’s small business failure rate of almost 80% within the first three years means the average entrepreneur’s chance of starting and running a business is low.

Mzobe says many entrepreneurs fail because they lack access to markets, funding and the necessary skills and knowledge required to run a successful business. “The solutions for these challenges already exist, they just need to be made more widely and easily accessible to people – and entrepreneurship skills need to be developed from a much younger age.”

Matoyana offers training and mentoring services through various entrepreneur development programmes for larger corporates and consults directly to SMEs. It also runs a self-funded pro-bono programme and publishes a blog and the Small Business Handbook, which aims to impart a wealth of information about entrepreneurship.

Research shows that one barrier to comprehension for the majority of black South Africans is being taught in English. There aren’t enough books, particularly those that focus on business, available in indigenous languages. The Small Business Handbook was recently translated into isiZulu and titled Umhlahlandlela Wamabhizinisi Amancane to cater to the 11,7 million South Africans who speak the language.

“Our vision is to make business knowledge accessible so people can solve their own problems. Translating the Handbook into isiZulu is a starting point in achieving this,” says Mzobe.

Moving forward, she plans to grow the business, improve book sales and distribution and to translate the handbook into other languages. “Our long-term goal is to grow our company into a global organisation and brand that is constantly innovating and making a positive impact,” she concludes.

Mzobe’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Always be on top of your finances, especially your cash-flow.
  • Success starts with you,, so it is important to prioritise your personal development and always be open to learning.