FRANCISTOWN: Frustrated by low salaries, Dimpho Madema (29), in 2015 adopted a new brave way of thinking, quit her day-to-day job and started her own business in the male-dominated field of steelfabrication.
She started the business as the sole proprietor of Miracle Steel Products Pty/Ltd at home with her savings supported by her husband, Patrick Madema.
The Ministry of Sports, Youth and Culture (MYSC) funded the Makobo village native through Youth Development Fund (YDF) in June this year to the tune of P100,000.
Today, what started as a backyard business has turned into a prosperous business that has created employment for three citizens. Madema manufactures steel window frames, doorframes, installs light steel roof trusses and ceiling battens.
After working for four years in different companies, Madema said she became motivated to start her own business and be her own boss.
Unlike the majority of youth who have enrolled for government poverty eradication programmes but ended up failing, the sky is the limit for Madema who dreams of owning a multi-million pula successful business that can create job opportunities for more citizens. Madema holds diploma in computer system engineering and hardware maintenance from ABM University and a diploma in health and safety from Centre for Business and Secretarial Training College (CBSTC). In an interview with Business Monitor, Madema disclosed that she developed the idea of manufacturing steels from one Modise Balo, a boilermaker by profession who trained her in welding and fabrication for six months before her business’s inception.
She stated that the experience gave her the confidence to start her own business in steel manufacturing, despite its image as a men-only sector.
“During my early years of my tertiary education, even though I did not know what kind of business I would venture into in future, I always had a dream of owning a company one day. Years later, I noticed opportunities for growth in this line of business,” the soft-spoken Madema said with a smile.
Madema said even though the business is operating it has been far from easy to find a market and get orders as big businesses like wholesalers seem reluctant to do business with her and prefer to buy the same products from South Africa.
“At the moment my customers are individuals, two hardware’s (Hardware-In at Sebina village and Borolong Hardware North). The business has the potential of being profitable because I purchase raw materials from local wholesalers, but the problem is that I am struggling to get customers. It could be better if wholesalers were supportive,” said Madema.
She added: “I have been busy marketing my business and hopeful to get more customers since the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) construction projects have recently started”. Madema said despite the market challenges, her business has grown a bit and she has used its little profit to open hardware business at her home village.
She disclosed that the only challenge she has is that she does not have a machine that manufactures doorframes, but currently she gets the service from other companies.
“I have recently applied and waiting for funds from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) to purchase the machine because I cannot afford it,” Madema said. She is currently an incubatee at the Local Enterprises Authority (LEA) incubator in Francistown. Madema was also part of the recent 4th Northern Women’s Business Exposition and won first prize under level 1 category of welding and fabrication.
“I feel that taking part at the exposition gave me exposure and the chance to network with other entrepreneurs,” Madema said.