- Refilwe started off taking orders in a garage
- She resigned after the Marikana massacre and started her own business
- She now employs 17 people
A young entrepreneur from Marikana, North West, has risen form taking orders in a garage to running her own business that employs 17 people.
Refilwe Sebothoma left for Gauteng and obtained a national higher certificate in accounting, Briefly.co.za learned. She then studied logistics at Wits Business School.
Armed with these qualifications, she returned to Marikana and worked for Lonmin. However, she resigned after the infamous Marikana massacre in 2012.
In 2014, she started PBM Creations, which sells industrial protective gear such as gloves, foot wear, head, and body wear.
Speaking to Sowetan Live, the proud 31-year-old entrepreneur recalled her journey:
I was alone in a garage taking orders. Now I employ 17 [people]. I was always interested in safety, and working at Lonmin enhanced this interest after seeing how seriously safety is taken at the mine.
However, it wasn't easy to build confidence and trust in the white- and male-dominated industry. Refilwe explained:
When you are a young black woman in a room full of white men, you have to prove yourself.
She advised young women wishing to join the industry to be patient while building trust and relationships:
Be aware of the challenges and position yourself better. I knew my focus point was going to be customer service.
Refilwe plans to expand her Pretoria-based business throughout South Africa and even the continent.
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