Emely Dumazi started her first florist shop in Hammanskraal in 1996, little did she realise that she would become one of Tshwane’s business leaders.
Dumazi said her love of flowers was her motivation but, not satisfied to have just one florist shop when “times get bumpy”, she wanted to expand and diversify and now owns three Gracious Florists and a hair salon catering for black clientele in Temba and Pretoria.
Almost all the people working for Dumazi are women and she provides them with skills training to ensure that they, in turn, can start their own businesses.
And that is fine by her. “If they have learned from me and I can motivate them and they go on to open their own businesses, it’s great. It means I was a good teacher,” she says.
Last week she was recognised in the Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) Tshwane regional business achiever awards in the category for entrepreneurs.
She was touched to be so recognised by other women business leaders and is determined to continue to pursue her dream.
Although reluctant to divulge her plans for the future, Dumazi admits to wanting to take the next step and do something “big” with her business.
The winner in the other category of the awards, for women working in the corporate sector, went to Vodacom’s regional marketing manager, Louisa Cilliers.
Cilliers, one of the few women managers in the cellphone giant’s local offices, is responsible for the Vodacom Bulls’ rugby sponsorship portfolio, including liaison with the rugby team and ensuring that all aspects of Vodacom’s rights are taken care of.
One of the joys of her jobs is the social responsibility portfolio with its Yebo Heroes and Vodacom Foundation arms which invest in the needs of the local community
This was the vision of Alan Knott-Craig (Vodacom CEO) with funding for education, health and welfare, and safety and security, among the areas as well as projects hi the arts and culture and the environment.
Cilliers, who originally trained as a teacher, joined Vodacom after a stint working as the personal assistant to a hospital director. “I decided to take a chance,” she recalls, never realising what a fast- changing and exciting field she would be entering.
“At that time, I couldn’t even switch on a computer and cellphones were new technology,” she says.
The other finalists in the entrepreneur award were Delia Thompson of the Communication Academy and Illona Wilkin of Aha! Radical Results.
In the corporate category the runners-up were Daleen Joubert of Kumba Iron Ore and Keobakile Mpolokeng of Business Connection.
The BWA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation which offers support for career women and creates opportunities for women starting and growing their own business ventures.
They have partnerships with sponsors, other non-profit organisations, leading companies and business schools.
Through these they provide ongoing events and opportunities to advance the interests and needs of women in business and act as a lobby group on issues of women in the workplace.