EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS PIECE IS AUTHORED BY UN WOMEN AS PART OF THE SERIES “FROM WHERE I STAND”, WHICH CAPTURES PEOPLES STORIES AND THEIR DAILY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. SEE THE FULL SERIES HERE.
Most mining companies, government and big businesses do not procure from local women-owned businesses. Yet, I resigned from a well-paying job to create a private business in steel and metal manufacturing. I’ve hired four women in my company so far and I want to create more jobs for rural youth and women.
Our old business model involved manual bending and twisting of metals, which delayed production, and we didn’t engage all employees on new product developments. At the Sharefair on Gender Equality in the Extractive Industries organized by UN Women, I was inspired to change my operating model. I learned about the latest technologies and trends for increasing productivity like heat treatment and maintaining a sustainable and profitable business, and I now fully involve staff in business decisions. As a result, I’ve managed to reduce our operational costs by 20 per cent, I’ve expanded my markets and increased my income in a span of only six months.
[I’ve connected with] women’s networks and learned that for women to succeed in the industry, we must not be afraid to take risks!
Tebogo Mashego, 35, is an entrepreneur. She is the founder of Ditsogo Projects, a metal manufacturer and supplier of steel engineering services in Rustenburg, South Africa. She took part in UN Women’s Sharefair on Gender Equality in the Extractive Industries from 13–15 October 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work is directly related to Sustainable Development Goal 9, on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation; and SDG 12, which seeks to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns, including by supporting developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity.