Vumile is an avid coach and speaker having spoken in conferences, expos and workshops around the globe on topics such as leadership, women empowerment, finance matters and conducting business in Africa. She is an entrepreneur who commenced her first venture at 22 years old. Her business interests currently span property, retail, logistics and consulting sectors.
Vumile has been featured in publications such as True Love Magazine (2012), Destiny Magazine (2011, 2016 and 2017), Bona Magazine (2015), Essays of Africa Magazine (2016) as well as The Thinker magazine (2015). She has been featured on Ghana’s ETV, is regular contributor on SAFM (radio station) on business and women’s issues as well as the business anchor for Voice of Wits (radio station). She’s a guest writer on business, finance issues and women empowerment for Essays of Africa and Destiny Connect.
1. Tell us about your background, who are you, where are you from, etc.
I am from a small township in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province on the East Side of South Africa. It is gorgeous with the ocean, a valley of a thousand hills and spectacular people. I was raised by my Mum and Grandparents whom I adore. I am a fun loving, curious person who is an avid traveller. I enjoy meeting and being around people but I am undoubtedly my happiest at home with a good book or playing with my dog Rocky.
2. When was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Please discuss your journey with us.
There was no specific moment. Growing up with a Grandad who was very entrepreneurial and had property, transport, event and retail business interests I suppose it was a matter of time. I recall being in primary and convincing my Mum to invest in my business which was to sell sweets and get students at her school to do that for me so I acted as a mini wholesaler of sorts.
3. Please discuss your business Hesed Consulting with us. What is it and what services do you offer?
At Hesed we work with individuals and entrepreneurs to accelerate their careers and businesses. We do this through workshops, training, coaching and consulting. We have a Pan-African approach: global exposure whilst remaining locally relevant.
I guess what makes our team rather unique is that we have executive experience across sectors so we understand the pressures of both corporate and entrepreneurship. Also many of our teams have worked and lived in different countries and continents. That cultural richness allows for diversity in thinking when tailor making solutions for our clients.
4. What are the opportunities available for women entrepreneurs in South Africa?
Because of South Africa’s Apartheid past, legislation and policy favour Women empowerment to redress the wrongs of the past which is a good thing. So funding has become more accessible for women especially in certain sectors. We are certainly no where close to where we need to be. But we aren’t where we used to be. We face many of the challenges our counterparts across the globe face, creating a female friendly space in the world of Business.
5. You have a very diverse portfolio, including speaking engagements, for which you travel internationally. What has been your most exciting speaking engagement to date and what advice do you have for early stage entrepreneurs who not only want to build a business but would like to be an international speaker?
Speaking I find is a lot easier when it’s about what you know. So become an expert in your field carve a niche for yourself. This process may take some time and in all honesty can be trial and error. But keep honing your craft by practicing, studying the art of communication and watching others speak.
I think I have thoroughly enjoyed speaking and MCing the Trade and Investment Conference for Southern African Developing Countries in Zambia. To be able to address policy makers, financial institutions, local and foreign investors, entrepreneurs and ambassadors from almost all of the Southern Africa to advocate for more free trade and how to drive intra trade within the continent was definitely a simultaneously humbling and exhilarating experience. To have every stakeholder and decision maker participate in a conversation to drive Africa’s economic liberation spoke to my pan-African heart and made the entrepreneur within me smile in glee.