The secret of survival in entrepreneurship is the ability to adapt to demand.
This is according to Mokgadi Letsoalo-Melwa (32) who is the founder of BUILDFIX, a construction company that focuses on property restorations, maintenance for insurance companies and banks for their property portfolios.
Her business also supplies innovative building material solutions called BUILDKIT. This business supplies electrical and plumbing material kits which are packaged according to house plan specifications for multi-units housing projects.
“We currently have presence in Gauteng and Free State provinces with plans to expand nationally,” she says.
Although most of her clients are insurance companies and banks, she also provides services to individuals and organisations.
“I ventured into the business world in 2014 to pursue my passion and desire to develop and build a successful sustainable black-owned business while building a legacy as a full-time entrepreneur,” she says.
Her company has created over 15 full-time jobs.
Letsoalo-Melwa says the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was a big blow to the construction space, and it required her company to review its business offering in order to survive the pandemic.
“It really hit us hard. We had to diversify our business model which led us to manufacturing surgical masks and surgical overalls in order to generate an income, as these were in demand during various stages of the lockdown,” she says.
An agent of change
Based in Alberton in the East Rand in Gauteng, the Limpopo-born entrepreneur holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Banking and a BCom Financial Management Degree from the University of Johannesburg.
She is also certified by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and is currently studying towards a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the North West University.
Letsoalo-Melwa says she sees herself as a change agent and an activist within the business of construction who breaks barriers.
“Getting into a space that does not have many young black women has been rewarding and a very challenging journey... it is not an easy path to walk, but it requires one to have a thick skin, a solid support system and to be rooted spiritually,” she says.
She encourages other black women and youth to consider starting businesses in the construction space.
Her company has received a business grant from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) which also linked her with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). SEDA is currently providing non-financial support in the form of risk management training, costing and pricing.
For more information about assistance from SEDA call the toll-free number 0860 663 7867 and visit the NYDA website www.nyda.gov.za