24 year-old Kelebogile Makhafola tells us how she’s slaying the brand management industry through her company, Maruapula Brand.
What sparked the idea to start Maruapula Brand?
It is ironic really – the answer is needing stability and a platform to practice my craft.
Have you always been entrepreneurial? If not what inspired you to be a businesswoman?
Yes I have. My parents bought me a cash register machine when I was younger and it subconsciously directed me towards quantifying the possible value of what’s around me.
What exactly does your brand offer and what sets you apart from your competitors?
We merge with businesses, making brand a conscious contributor to your business equity. As young as we may be, we articulate the landscape that our clients play in more analytically.
Which brands have you worked with so far?
Gauging Tourism Authority; Tourism Enterprise partnership; Lefika Securities; Audi; Number 43; Loreal and Merck pharmaceuticals.
Who is your target market?
Medium to large sized businesses; corporates; blue-chip companies – however the fundamental thread must be towards the rejuvenation of African excellence and African Brand building.
What have been your highlights and challenges?
Highlights are moving into our first office premises; Retaining clients; identifying strong and key rainmakers (team members). The challenges include delay in client payments; experiencing SMME red tape within business areas and systemising the company.
How do you plan on expanding your brand?
Building a formidable team; partnering with innovative clients and sharing my passion through strategy.
From your experience, does South Africa provide a favourable environment for business owners? If not, what should be done?
We are trying as a country to acknowledge the areas of improvement. Legislation and policies still need to be transformed and made more accommodative for us. The different areas of society are responsible for this change, so I do believe that we have a long way to go however the wheel has started turning.
Do you plan on branching into other business opportunities? If so, what are they?
Most certainly. I will still remain in the broad spectrum of brand, however, acquiring other tastes within this industry to make us more attractive to other cross-sectorial opportunities.
What is your advice to young people who want to start and run successful businesses?
Focus. Be passionate about what it is you are embarking on. Also, ensure that you have mentors.
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