Supporting entrepreneurship in South Africa
Thabitha Malinga turned her idea for health and beauty treatments into a successful business, with the support of Shell LiveWIRE. Now employing seven people in South Africa, her business recently became part of Shell’s supply chain.
Thabitha Malinga, a young entrepreneur from Tembisa Township in Johannesburg had an idea for a new business venture.
She set up Thabie Mobile Spa and started to bring the luxury of beauty treatments to her clients in the privacy of their own homes and offices.
Having attempted to start several businesses before, Thabitha was determined this one would succeed.
“The mobile spa is my fourth business attempt” she explains, “My other businesses failed very early on as I didn’t have the knowledge or experience necessary to be a successful entrepreneur.”
“The difference with Thabie Mobile Spa, has been the step-by-step support and constant guidance from the Shell Livewire Programme. The programme has helped me to understand my business and, most importantly, to understand what I want to achieve as an individual.”
Watch a film about Thabitha’s story
My name is Thabitha Malinga
I’m from Tembisa in the East Rand
I am a mom to 2 beautiful children.
I’m a sister and I am an entrepreneur.
So I was browsing through the internet and I saw the Shell logo and I remember picking up funding, incubation and that was good for me to start applying.
So in my mind when I applied I was looking for funds.
Thabie Mobile Spa is my fourth business attempt. Because of the lack of experience, the revenue that I made was hand to mouth.
I would make R500 that day and then close shop, go shopping.
It failed so many times.
(text - subtitle) We've come a long way.
(text - subtitle) She's a child who has always had vision.
(text - subtitle) After Matric we asked her what she wants to do in life.
(text - subtitle) She said "Somatology".
(text - subtitle) Her father asked "What is Somatology?"
My vision was so clear and it still is and for me to get to that vision I had to really make a lot of sacrifices.
(text) Thabitha was selected to be part of the Shell LiveWIRE program in association with Raizcorp.
The entrepreneurial journey is a tough one. We all believe erroneously that there’s a place, there’s a nirvana, there’s a peak at which it will all be okay. We’re only there for seconds before we realize that there’s another peak and more issues and more problems and sometimes that relentless pushing back on our journey it takes a toll on individuals. It’s only certain people that push through that.
(text) Shell LiveWIRE is a global social investment initiative that focuses on training and equipping young people with the necessary entrepreneurial skills.
So she came in here with a business model of her mobile spa and optimistic and this is something that she loves, she’s been in the industry for quite some time. Now we said to her, “Okay fine, this is beautiful but let’s look at the vision, let’s look at where this business is going.” Now, you see we’re not giving them answers, we’re asking them questions.
I acquired learning through Shell LiveWIRE. It’s now a year that I’ve been with them and during that year I have learnt so much. I have learnt what it really means to be an entrepreneur.
When I started here I was with a panel of sixty other candidates and now I’m a finalist of 2 candidates.
The program is intended to develop businesses that can become suppliers or match our supplier chain. She is aligned to our wellness program that we have at Shell where we look at a holistic view of employee wellness and she’s done very well.
You know, when I speak about it I become quite emotional because right now I can say with pride that my business is profitable and the reason why my business is profitable is because of the program.
(text) She now employs 3 people, expanded her business to include kids pamper parties and plans to move to bigger premises later this year.
From idea to reality
Shell LiveWIRE is run in partnership in South Africa with Raizcorp - an African business incubator.
The programme focuses on training and equipping young people with entrepreneurial skills to help address high levels of youth unemployment.
Thabitha was one of the 2016 Shell LiveWIRE finalists. Over the past 12 months, the programme has equipped her with the business skills needed to analyse market demands, follow a customer-centric approach, and grow her business.
And now Thabie Mobile Spa has been added to the wellness programmes that Shell provides as part of its benefits programmes for employees in South Africa, bringing Thabie Mobile Spa directly into Shell’s supply chain.
Benefits for the community
Thabie Mobile Spa is now a growing and profitable business, employing several people and bringing benefits to the local community and wider.
“The programme is not just about me” says Thabitha. “It is also beneficial for the people in my community. In order to grow a strong team, I intend to pass on the business skills and customer experience knowledge that I gain from LiveWIRE to my employees.”
Ntobeko Mogadime, Social Investment Manager at Shell South Africa agrees, “Thabitha’s success story is one of many entrepreneurial endeavours that have been facilitated since Shell Livewire started.”
“We believe that the programme’s ongoing success will continue to contribute to the creation of a strong culture of small and medium-sized businesses and in this way, play a role in reducing youth unemployment in South Africa.”
more in local employment and enterprise
In many places around the world, we share benefits with local communities by offering training for jobs in the oil and gas industry.
We prioritise procurement of goods and services from local suppliers who meet the standards we require, and support others to reach those.