CEO who walked 10km barefooted to school recognised by Forbes
JOHANNESBURG - A rural girl from the villages of KwaZulu-Natal has defied the prescripts of her poor background to turn into a model businesswoman.
Busisiwe Mdletshe, who used to walk barefooted for up to 10km to school, used opportunities education provided to her to better herself into a powerful businesswoman that is today recognised by the influential Forbes Magazine.
Mdletshe is the chief executive of BTMT Capital, a financial management and wealth management firm that specialises in accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, tax planning, special investigations and advisory.
“We prepare financial statements for our clients, budgeting, recommend effective internal controls, improve and maintain their tax compliance status, and research on tax developments,” Mdletshe says. “We enable our clients to realise their financial goals.”
BTMT Capital clients include business groups such as the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) and the Black Business Council (BBC).
But it is through who’s who of the corporate world that Mdletshe’s influence in the corporate world can be measured.
The list includes niche banker Investec, commercial banker Nedbank, health group Discovery, private equity fund manager and investment advisory firm Arkein Capital Partners, wealth management and group investment services company Inkunzi Wealth Group, Swiss-headquartered diversified wealth management and investment advisory firm ADF Group, the economic development and business growth consultancy GrowthMap Infonomics.
It is a list that any accounting firm would be proud of.
But for Mdletshe, it represents the grit and determination of making it against all odds.
And the lucks she can today count on her side.
“I was blessed because of my husband, he fully supported me. I did not need to borrow. He bought everything I needed to start my business,” she says.
It has been a long way for Mdletshe, the eldest of eight children from the village of Engonyameni in Durban.
Mdletshe spent her early years walking barefoot but not bothered as this was a common feature among nearly all school-going children in her community.
Mdletshe says she only became aware of her circumstances later in her school life.
“I only realized when I was at high school that actually I was from a poor background,” she says.
Her experiences taught her never to forget where she came from. In 2018 she started an initiative to buy school shoes for poor learners.
Mdletshe now advises high net worth individuals on wealth management strategies and instruments.
As the chief executive of BTMT Capital, she sets company policies, strategic and risk management approaches, and sets the firm’s general corporate direction. Her teams handle the finer devil in detail.
Mdletshe says she also needed role models to achieve her dreams. When she founded BTMT Capital, she approached Naspers South Africa chief executive Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa to be her mentor.
She also asked Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu to guide her through her journey.
She has now learned to diversify her revenue streams and not depend on a few big clients. She also learned to always be professional, client-focused while offering a consistently reliable service that helps clients achieve their financial and corporate goals.
Mdletshe says, “I realized that some small businesses evaded tax because of lack of understanding compliance matters. They needed support on running their businesses professionally. I then started my own practice with the intention of helping them comply.
A workaholic by her own admission, Mdletshe graduated with a Bachelor of Accountancy at the University of KwaZulu Natal in 2001.
Later she joined one of SA’s leading audit firms, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), as a trainee accountant.
She says her experience at a big auditing firm was a decisive lift for her career in the financial management and accounting profession. She learned more about the auditing process within PwC’s consumer industrial product services division, which also improved her knowledge and expertise in the preparation of audited financial statements.
Mdletshe has also worked for the SA Revenue Service.
Though she is currently the 100 percent shareholder of BTMT Capital, she says, as a way of rewarding her employees.
She has offered them share ownership which will only vest in 2021.
She also runs the BusiM Foundation, a nonprofit organisation which provides career guidance and financial assistance to students who excel academically. The foundation, she says, has benefited more than 500 students since its inception.
“I cannot wait to see myself experiencing technologically advanced systems developed by our own South African youth,” says Mdletshe.