I Am an Entrepreneur highlights women in business

IAAE mainThe panel at I Am an Entrepreneur in Tshwane includes Khanyi Dhlomo of Ndalo Media as well as soft services entrepreneurs, Cynthia Mkhombo of Masana Hygiene and Lindiwe Shibambo of Maid 4 U. (Image: I am an Entrepreneur)

The latest instalment of the I Am an Entrepreneur series takes place in Tshwane on Saturday, 10 September with a special focus on the role of women in entrepreneurship.

Hosted by My Start Up SA and Ignite SA, the project’s facilitators invite members of the public to join the conversation and share their thoughts with esteemed members of the panel. Topics include the opportunities and challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in both South African and global economies.

With a growing awareness of the role women play in the country’s economy, it is understood that there is still a lot to be done in order to fully harness their potential.

Lynette Ntuli, chief executive of Innate Investment Solutions and founder of Ignite SA, will host the programme. Joining her as guest speakers will be Khanyi Dhlomo of Ndalo Media, Cynthia Mkhombo of Masana Hygiene and Lindiwe Shibambo of Maid 4 U.

The workshop aims to provide crucial insights for leaders, policymakers and aspiring female entrepreneurs, and help them find strategies to enable women-owned businesses to thrive.

Media partner Power FM 98.7 will join other partners MTN Business, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Brand South Africa and Renault South Africa in Tshwane.


Since 2013, I Am an Entrepreneur has hosted events in nine cities across eight of South Africa’s provinces.

To date the project has brought more than 6 000 young entrepreneurs into contact with well-established business leaders, giving them an opportunity to learn more from those who have already managed to succeed in business.

Additionally, the project introduced exciting mentorship sessions that help entrepreneurs with funding, market access and other industry-related developments.


Dhlomo began her media career as an award-winning television news and lifestyle anchor. She later had an eight-year stint as editor of the women’s magazine <em>True Love</em> where she doubled the publication’s readership and circulation.

In 2003, she was named one of the most influential women in South African media by The Media magazine.

Following this, she spent the best part of two years in Paris, France, as head of South African Tourism before completing an MBA at Harvard Business School in the US.

Upon her return to South Africa she launched Ndalo Media, a multi-platform company that publishes Destiny and Destiny Man magazines, websites and social media platforms with the aim of producing compelling, unique and useful business and lifestyle content.

In 2010, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was later named one of Forbes magazine’s 20 Most Powerful Women in Africa aged under 40.

Mkhombo is the founder and current chief executive of Masana, a contract cleaning company that she founded in 2004.

Since then she has managed to grow the business from only seven employees to more than 2 000 today.

However, Mkhombo’s true brilliance shines through in the way she has prioritised the satisfaction of her employees in an industry where there can be exploitation.

Through various empowerment initiatives, some of the employees who started out as cleaners at Masana now hold managerial positions in the business.

She has also offered bursaries to ten children of staff members to further their education at South African universities.

In May 2016 Mkhombo invested in a new start-up called SiCy Accessories after recognising the potential of a young designer she crossed paths with.

Shibambo could not further her studies after completing matric and had to find employment to raise funds to pay for her own studies. She started as a domestic worker and managed to amass the funds she needed to further her studies.

Having experienced her own struggles she realised the need for skills development and job creation in her own community.

She believed that through empowerment and training of others she could impact positively on the economy at large, and so founded Maids 4 U, a company focused on recruitment, training, placement and compliance of domestic workers, cleaners, au pairs and home-based workers.

Maids 4 U is now a franchised business, impacting communities across South Africa.


I Am an Entrepreneur in Tshwane will be held at the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History. Registration starts at 8am and tickets are available at Computicket and Shoprite/ Checkers at R100 each. Seats are limited.