The Business of a Girl Boss
Posted on March 26, 2018
21 Year old digital entrepreneur Tebatso Molapo says she was frustrated with the fact that most of the successful business owners in the small town from which she hails were men. “I saw a gap in female-owned businesses in my hometown in Limpopo and I wanted to create a platform that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship while also building a sisterhood among female entrepreneurs.”
This vision birthed Rebasadi ( We are Women in Sesotho) - a multimedia agency with the goal of cultivating and supporting women-owned startups by providing opportunities for networking and collaborating.
Rebasadi achieves this goal by organising social markets where female vendors are invited to display their work and through a series of carefully curated events like the Rebasadi Reflection Sessions in partnership with the J&B Hub in Johannesburg. “These sessions serve as a platform for young women in business to learn from each other while at the same time taking notes from those who are on the same path of success. We’ve had the privilege of hosting the founder of Own It intimate wear Tlhogi Letsholonyane and digital entrepreneur Owethu Makhathini. ”
Tebatso says one of the biggest challenges of running her agency is learning how to navigate a patriarchal business space and fighting to be taken seriously as a young, black female.
“One of the most challenging things is encountering people who approach me under the guise of investing but have ulterior motives.”
Founded in 2015, Rebasadi has grown exponentially over the past two years reaching entrepreneurs in other parts of the continent such as Namibia, Nigeria, Botswana and Uganda. “The reception has been amazing – we’ve grown our social media following to over 10 000 followers in just two years” Rebasadi has also created its own online database of woman-owned businesses across a spectrum of industries from beauty and fashion to catering to help these businesses draw in more clients.
“Self doubt is still the biggest stumbling block for women in business. Women tend to believe in everyone but themselves.”
Since Tebatso has a following of over 20 000 followers between her Twitter and Instagram, which she leverages off to make Rebasadi’s work known, I’d asked her if a following on social media translates to successful business? “Partly, yes. Social media is the new age platform for connecting to small businesses and most of the women in my network I’ve met through online interaction. However, most of the work is done behind the scenes because a brand can have digital presence but without proper admin work and planning it won’t be successful”
Besides growing Rebasadi into more parts of Africa, the next 5 years for Tebatso are about making Rebasadi the number one creative agency for women in business. She also emphasises the importance of being passionate about what you do as a youth entrepreneur, lest you find yourself pursuing perceived success “For a long time I wanted to do something because I wanted the popularity that would come with it. Now I realise that for me, true fulfilment comes with being able to see other women grow. Do it with passion!”
Written By: Dimpho Lekgeu