30 November 2021

Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies student, Ngubeni has put UMP on the map with her cleaning company, which she presented at the EDHE competition. She says employing other students was her way of trying to align her business with helping students and making an impact in society. 

“We are unique because our business is about providing students with work experience before entering the job market. We believe that this opportunity will help students cover their tuition debts and provide with other learning materials.”

Ngubeni says the business stands for student and youth empowerment. “I have not seen a cleaning company owned and run by the youth, we are bringing technology and faster services to the market.

“The EDHE competition came at a good time. It really made a huge impact not only to myself but a lot of people around me, it is evident because a lot of students who watched me throughout my journey have also decided to take steps and enter the competition next year,” she adds. “I have learnt a lot from the competition, I have met a lot of innovative young people on the same journey, and I have grown as an entrepreneur. The competition does challenge one a lot, but it is totally worth it.”

UMPDevelopment Studies student Pearl Ngubeni presenting at the EDHE Intervarsity Finals.

Perseverance pays off

The 19-year-old started her cleaning company in 2020 to raise funds for registration. “I could not secure funding on time and my parents did not have money for registration, so I looked for domestic employment where I did laundry for others and cleaned people’s houses. That’s how I managed to pay my registration fees,” she says.  

Her biggest challenge was selling the business idea. “In the beginning, people didn’t to take me seriously or support me because I am young and female. That has been very difficult. I have failed in some attempts to grow my business,” she continues. 

“I lost a pitching competition during the entrepreneurship week on campus, and I remember being ready to give up, but I’m grateful I didn’t. The little voice that made me see my failures as opportunities got me to the EDHE intervarsity finals. Even though I did not win, something good came out of the completion. I found a potential investor and a mentor.” 

Ngubeni says reaching the finals of the EDHE competition has been her highlight. “I competed with other innovative and great businesses that have been around for years,” she adds. “That showed me that my business is valid and with more hard work it will go even further and soon put the University of Mpumalanga on the map.”

Her advice to other aspiring studenpreneurs is to follow their passion and have a good support network. “When you’re passionate about what you do and wish to expand, you make it work even with time constraints as an obstacle. I am able to focus on what I do and my studies since I have a wonderful team of other students who help me with whatever I need in the business.”

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.