Our entrepreneur of the week is a health, safety and wellness specialist
This article forms part of the Youth Month 2015 series in which SME South Africa, throughout the month ofJune, will highlight the work of young entrepreneurs and innovators who are shaping SA’s future.
Name of company: Isipho Sempilo (IST HSE Solutions)
Years in existence: 4
Position: Founder and Managing Director
Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?
IST HSE Solutions is a health, safety and wellness firm based in Pretoria, we help businesses with onsite safety consulting and all safety training which helps companies to save lives and save millions of Rands by taking care of all their health, safety and wellness needs, so that they can fully focus on their business, their customers and on growing their profits.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background – personal, educational and professional?
I am a health, safety and wellness specialist, an internationally certified safety leadership coach. I am passionate about what I do. I am mother of 4 kids and a wife. I have 10 years’ experience in the health, safety and industry.
I’m also a graduate of the GIBS – Goldman Sachs-GIBS 10,000 Women Certificate Programme for Women Entrepreneurs; and was a participant in the US Embassy Fortune 500 mentorship programme
What were some of the obstacles you faced starting out, and how did you overcome them?
Lack of knowledge, I learned something every day and learnt from everyone, I’m still learning.
How many people does your company employ?
“A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be”
What is your overall vision for your business?
We aim to educate business owners in the manufacturing, construction, energy, and oil -gas industry on the power of safety culture, safety as a business growth strategy, not only just as compliance. In South Africa a person dies every 15 seconds for a work related disease or accident in the workplace.
What do you think it takes to establish and run a successful business in South Africa?
Determination and a big vision. I believe that challenges are not stumbling blocks, only a learning curves, but a small vision limits all possible success. If the vision is big enough anything is possible. Dreaming big is free of charge.
How did you finance your business, how difficult or easy was the process?
I started my business with nothing. The only difficulty I faced was the decision to start, and take the first step.
When did you know that you were an entrepreneur?
Every time a business I started, failed, and I couldn’t wait to start another one. I thought it must be one of two things, I’m crazy or I’m an entrepreneur, maybe both.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I lead from behind. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
What three pieces of advice would you offer young entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Just do it- you can
2. Challenges should be your best friend, learn from them
3. Money comes after passion.
What do you wish you had known starting out?
To educate myself daily on business management, it’s a skill
And finally, do you believe in luck, hard work or both?
Both, what is meant to be, will be, we can do so much