From school teacher to top entrepreneur - meet Thembisile Ralarala

From school teacher to top entrepreneur - meet Thembisile Ralarala

- Innovators Create Wealth (INCREW) is a retail nursery offering a range of services to individuals and organisations in the Eastern Cape

- Owner Thembisile Ralarala was determined to turn the small town of Mount Fletcher into a tourism destination and is establishing a botanical garden

- Ralarala’s innovation has earned her the Top Student award in the Small Business Academy project

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Ex-schoolteacher Thembisile Ralarala has always had a passion for gardening and established her own company to cater to the landscaping needs of individuals and organisations in the small town of Mount Fletcher, Eastern Cape.

Her company, Innovators Create Wealth (INCREW), is a retail nursery which is in the process of establishing a botanical garden to boost tourism in the area.

Ralarala's use of eco-tourism is boosting economic development and creating employment opportunities.

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Her innovative approach was recognised recently by the Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency (JoGEDA) and the University of Stellenbosch Business School as she scooped the Top Student award.

The two organisations combined to form the Small Business Academy (SBA) programme and Ralarala was one of 20 small business owners to participate.

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Good Things Guy reported on Ralarala's long-term vision for INCREW.

Ralarala said, “Building up our nursery into a botanical garden will become a unique tourism destination in this poor rural community and create a venue for weddings, festivals and conferences. We will also enter agro-processing and produce added-value products such as perfumes, soaps, oils, fruit juice and dried fruit, thereby creating employment and enabling people to be active participants in the sustainable economic development of this area.” understands that some of Ralarala's proudest moments involved procuring business contracts with large retailers such as Spar and Build-It.

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