The adjectives vie when trying to describe Maambele Khosa, but brilliant, humble and grounded come to mind.
Hailing from the rural Limpopo village Tiyani Magoro, Maambele started out at Stellenbosch University (SU) eight years ago with a BSc in GeoInformatics. This evolved into a postgraduate diploma in marketing.
“I've always been an entrepreneur at heart."
Currently she's completing an MPhil in Research Management and Evaluation at SU.
This alumna, amongst others, founded SheCab – the bespoke, for-women-by-women-only ride service that's become a beacon of safety in and around Stellenbosch – one “random afternoon".
“During Covid time, I needed to fly home. Because it was so quiet on the roads, besides booking flights, I also had to consider how to safely get to the airport. It's not far from Stellenbosch, but it's long enough if you don't feel safe or can't relate to the driver."
Cases of gender-based violence, muggings and robberies of women when using popular ride services, got her thinking.
“I can't protect everyone, but I can make a difference where I'm at; I thought of a transport service for women only, where I could be a weekend driver – as a girl who knows the ins and outs of Stellenbosch. Interestingly enough, demand was very high and therefore I had to get a team of female drivers to be able to cater to that demand. That's how this movement, this platform, was born."
The team comprises 10 part-time administrators and female drivers. They work flexibly and relieve each other daily, shuttling people to and from Stellenbosch. Maambele joins them on weekends. Since most of the team members are students, it's very important to her that the team acquire soft skills like time management and communication.
When asked how she balances being a student, working full time and running such a platform, she says she doesn't believe in balance. Instead, Maambele practices good time management and prioritising. Self-care is also important, and she's had to learn to say no.
“Some of the difficult things for us emerging entrepreneurs is learning to outsource. One must learn that you can't do everything perfectly, but there are others out there who can do what you cannot," she says.
“It is also difficult to grow a business and keep tabs on the different seasons of change. To other emerging entrepreneurs, my best advice is to go ahead and start your business, then keep grinding, and stay relevant."
Lastly, she says being an entrepreneur can be lonely. “The road to entrepreneurship is a lonely journey of discovery. It is therefore important to surround ourselves with other entrepreneurs. Embrace the love and support from family and friends."