BCom graduate and accounting student hit back at job crunch with own start-ups

27 December 2019 - 07:01 By Nonkululeko Njilo and Kgaugelo Masweneng
Nomaswazi Tshabalala paid tribute to her grandmother Elizabeth at her graduation, after her best "cheerleader since the day I was born" had died a year before.
Nomaswazi Tshabalala paid tribute to her grandmother Elizabeth at her graduation, after her best "cheerleader since the day I was born" had died a year before.
Image: Nomaswazi Tshabalala via Facebook

Unemployment is a harsh reality for many young graduates, but Nomaswazi Tshabalala 23, is convinced entrepreneurship is the way to go.

The University of Johannesburg graduate started a business producing and selling ginger beer, using her late grandmother’s secret recipe, nearly two months ago.

Tshabalala said she was forced to think outside the box when she failed to secure a job despite earning a BCom degree in economics last year.

Nomayeza Ngesman, 26, is also doing it for herself. She founded a business selling knitwear, TheWoolie (Pty) Ltd, in 2017. The money she makes from the business is helping her further her studies for a BCom degree in  commerce and accountancy.

“The challenges I have are funding, to expand manufacturing, marketing and distribution. I also need a mentor in the textile, manufacturing and retail space to help with their expertise as well as connections. I am currently handling everything alone and I am looking to find a partner with complementary skills to help grow TheWoolie,” Ngesman said.

Explaining where the inspiration for her business originated, Ngesman said, “I met women from Alexandra township at the wool shop when I was buying wool to learn how to crochet and that’s where our story began.”

TheWoolie clothing
TheWoolie clothing
Image: Supplied

Tshabalala produces her “Mshengu’s ginger beer” at her Lenasia home. It is produced using natural ingredients including ginger which is said to have a number of health benefits. Those who purchased and tasted it described it as the "best one in town" and a "throat opener".

"Growing up my grandmother used to make ginger beer for our family and even neighbours but sadly passed away in May [2019] and left the recipe with my mother ...” Tshabalala told TimesLIVE.

She said her mother eventually passed on the recipe to her due to an increase in the number of requests for the beer.

"I thought to myself, actually, there is a gap in the market for gemmer (the Afrikaans term for ginger) and I could turn this into a business, and when I told my mother she couldn’t agree more," she said.

She used all her savings to purchase supplies to make the beer. Two months into the business, she described the journey as both amazing and challenging.

"I’m getting positive feedback and seeing profit as well ... I’ve had the honour of producing bulk orders for corporate events and people’s weddings ..." she said.

While transportation remains an issue in terms of making deliveries, Tshabalala said her dream was to expand her business to supply supermarkets.