Pure determination enabled Ncebakazi Mhlaba, a Port Elizabeth entrepreneur, to conquer and make her mark in the male-dominated construction industry.
Sikuphiwe Trading specializes in the construction of subsidy housing, schools and clinics, to mention but a few of the services her business renders.
Mhlaba’s resilience has received national recognition after her business, was nominated as one of the three finalists in the Young Entrepreneur Award category of the fifth edition of the South African Premier Business Awards.
The awards ceremony will be hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry, Proudly South African and Brand South Africa. And will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 30 January 2018.
These awards recognize excellence in business and honour enterprises that promote success and innovation as well as good business ethics, quality and job creation. They bring together all single sectored awards, among others technology, manufacturing and women in business.
The 28-year-old Mhlaba said she was really humbled and greatly inspired by this kind of national recognition because it means that as a company we are on the right track.
“It says that there is something right that I am doing. It confirms that the future is bright and I should continue growing from strength to strength despite the challenges that I have contend with as a woman trying to make her mark in the male-dominated and highly competitive environment. But more importantly, it gives hope to the young women of the Eastern Cape to transcend stereotypes and make their mark in any industry,” she said.
Her passion for construction developed while working in her mother’s company, as a technical manager. When she started her business in 2013, she had mistakenly hoped that the world had changed and she would not receive the same attitude her mother had to endure in the construction industry.
As a young black woman in a male dominated industry, Ncebakazi says that at times even her own employees doubted her knowledge of the industry and of their work.
Mhlaba said: “I am always looking at the brighter side of life and hold my head high. For my company to be chosen as one of the top three in the country that are owned by young entrepreneurs in a national competition is a great source of encouragement. The national exposure that we are already receiving will boost our company profile. I hope it will also open doors for more opportunities for our company so that we can grow and contribute in creating jobs for other young people.”
The awards are aimed at recognising and rewarding businesses that have made a meaningful contribution in the growth and transformation of the South African economy.
According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, these awards will highlight the importance of how business excellence is making positive strides to the contribution of South Africa’s global competitiveness and affirmation that it is a country that is open for business.