Recycling is a roaring success for Lady Lion winner


Businesswoman Simangele Chirwa won The Lady Lion R100k competition.
DURBAN – KwaZulu-Natal businesswoman Simangele Chirwa’s recycling business got a boost earlier this month when she was announced the winner of The Lady Lion R100k competition.

Launched in October last year, The Lady Lion showcases the talent of women in South Africa who run their own businesses.

It provides access to training and mentoring to assist them in building sustainable businesses.

Leon Lategan, founder of The Lady Lion, said the calibre of entries was phenomenal. “The businesses are innovative, original and show great potential – we had a hard time whittling them down to a top 10, never mind a winner, but Chirwa’s business stood out for all the right reasons.”

Chirwa’s business, Re-living cop17, based in uMhlathuze, is the first and only buy-back centre in the area that buys cardboard, plastic, paper, cans and glass bottles, servicing more than 50 informal recyclers.

It also does collections from households, clinics, taverns, bottle stores, dumping sites, events, corporates, conferences, stores, tertiary institutions and hotels.

Chirwa said the main aim behind her business was to minimise waste that went to landfill sites, to live in a clean environment, and, more importantly, to combat hunger and poverty by creating employment.

She said her win came as a surprise, but re-affirmed her belief in her offering, and in herself.

“Winning the grand prize means so much to us that words cannot even begin to express how truly honoured, humbled and grateful we are. I think this is a great platform for all growing entrepreneurs, particularly because many small businesses fail not because they are not meant to be, but because of lack of support. This prize money will be put towards buying glass-processing equipment which will be used to convert glass bottles into drinking glasses, jars and decorative items which we can then sell.”

While Chirwa’s business has been successful according to research, there are several issues that affect female entrepreneurs:

Lack of entrepreneurial intent. Women account for only 18.8% of business owners in South Africa.

Shortage of support and resources.

Limited access to funding.

Self-limiting factors. Many women do not comprehend their abilities.

Lategan said it was woman entrepreneurs whose efforts were likely to have the greatest impact on wealth creation, job creation, economic growth and innovation. Four runners-up in the competition each received R10000 worth of coaching and training: Renshia Manuel of Growbox, Thembisile Naomi Mbambo of The Pink Cabs, Sarah Brown of Smart Toy Club and Aurélie Torris-Hastie of Petit Fox.


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