28 February 2022

In 2020, during the middle of the lockdown, when most people were quite desperate to do their hair, Mathye seized the opportunity and with a R1 000 loan from her parents, set up a mobile salon on their patio at home. Two years later her start-up has grown from strength to strength. She now operates a successful salon business in Johannesburg, as well as a mobile one on the Mbombela campus.

Mathye’s initiative is also supported by Universities South Africa (USAf) through the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE), which is intended to develop the entrepreneurial capacity of students, academics and leaders. The aim is for students to be more successful in terms of becoming economically active during and after their tertiary education.

The programme seeks to empower students upon graduation. The hope is that students would be able to consider entrepreneurship as a career, either as a first choice, or as an alternative, especially if they have difficulty in finding employment.

In November 2021, Mathye’s will to succeed encouraged her to enter the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Intervarsity competition. She made it to the regional rounds and won R3 000, which she says will be put towards upgrading her business.

“Winning always reminds me to never be afraid to make a stand when the moment calls for it. It brings me joy and peace of mind because it reminds me that my actions are noticed and that dreams do come true when you understand your assignment and perform accordingly,” she says.

With no proper site from which to initially operate her business, Mathye used her parents’ patio at first and then moved to their living room. Her business grew from there and she started operating from their garage.

“After making R1 000 profit in just two months, I knew I was on the right track. I was able to invest in equipment and find a more comfortable environment. My revenue started to increase after I began using marketing platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to post photos and videos of my work, as well as word of mouth from satisfied clients, which has proven to be the most effective marketing tool for my business,” she continues.

“The best thing that has happened to my business during academic sessions is online learning. Studying and owning a salon business is like having a career and a hobby. An opportunity to study ICT was what presented itself first before I had an interest in generating income for myself.”

Mathye adds that studying ICT and being an entrepreneur makes her feel accomplished and confident in owning her own space. It has allowed her to grow into the person she is meant to be, and to make a success of herself using her talent and initiative.

She advises aspiring entrepreneurs to always remain positive and to look for opportunities to grow. “Make every day count and always present the best version of yourself. Hold yourself to high standards and the rest will follow.”

Keen to give back to her community, Mathye uses her business to make a difference. “As a way to give back to the community, my clients and I donate free sanitary pads to a nearby primary school. Because I believe that we rise by lifting others, I believe that a business should have a beneficial impact on its community.”

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures Supplied.