In partnership with Investec

In a series of honest discussions, two inspirational female entrepreneurs share their journey from “the big dream” to how they survived challenges such as dealing with chauvinist behaviour in a male-dominated business world to facing the possibility that their companies could go bankrupt.

Fumani Mthembi is a founding member of the Pele Energy Group, South Africa’s largest 100% black-owned independent power production and development firm. She is the MD of its research and development subsidiary, Knowledge Pele (KP). Teresa Oakley-Smith is the founding member of Diversi-T, a change management consultancy with a focus on transformation and diversity training.

Mthembi and Oakley-Smith spoke at last year’s Investec Women in Leadership event, held under the theme “The Courage to Change”. They also recorded a series of podcasts with Investec about succeeding as a businesswoman in a male-dominated world.

“The thing about being an entrepreneur is it isn’t an upward trajectory,” said Oakley-Smith.

“Diversi-T has gone through cycles; up- and down-times. I had to sell a house at one point because even though the business was performing poorly, I still had belief in the dream. You have to make a plan. You have to make a way,”

“Starting a business is like gambling at a slot machine,” said Mthembi. “If you sit there long enough, you’ll win. I don’t know how to abandon ship.”

Mthembi and Oakley-Smith bring their own useful perspectives to the discussion about “What are we as women doing to challenge the patriarchal mind-set that dominates politics and business alike?”

Their call to action, however, is the same for all women: 

We’ve got to come together and take our power.

Listen to the insightful three-part podcast below:

Part one:

Part two:

Part three: