After working for Sanlam as a financial adviser for more than 10 years, Elizabeth Segametse Brits did not let the opportunity of entrepreneurship pass her by when the opportunity struck.
Brits said while selling insurance policies, a hospital manager approached her to supply food to the patients’ kitchen in the Northern Cape, and that was when her business, Elizabeth Segametse Brits Trading, in Postmasburg, was founded.
Brits told “Business Report”: “Initially, in 2002, I moved to Postmasburg, working as a financial adviser at Sanlam for a decade. However, I did not limit myself to just that; I embarked on a side hustle, selling food, biscuits, and curtains for extra income. The turning point came when, while selling insurance policies, the hospital manager approached me to supply food for their patients’ kitchen. Despite lacking a registered business at the time, I took the opportunity, which led me to officially establish my catering business in 2012. The demand for my services from various organisations and events solidified my decision to dive wholeheartedly into the catering industry.”
Throughout the years, Brits grew her business from a catering company to a fully-fledged events business.
She said: “The realisation that my catering business could evolve into a comprehensive events company was a gradual process influenced by the surging demand for my services. As I received numerous requests from diverse organisations and events, it became evident that there was a broader market beyond traditional catering.”
“Observing this trend, I saw an opportunity to leverage my expertise and expand the business to offer a comprehensive range of event management services. The multifaceted demands indicated a need for a more inclusive approach, prompting the strategic decision to transform my catering venture into a full-fledged events company. This evolution allows me to provide end-to-end solutions and meet the diverse requirements of my clients in the dynamic events industry,” she added.
Brits said the sky is the limit for her business and one day hopes that she can take her company to the international stage.
“My vision for the future is rooted in impactful growth and social contribution. Alongside the catering business, I aim to establish a wholesale venture, broadening the scope of my services. Moreover, my dream includes setting up an orphanage, reflecting my commitment to supporting the less fortunate. Expansion is a key part of my strategy, with the goal of having ESB branches in all nine provinces, enabling a more widespread reach. As a trailblazer, I aspire to become the first black woman to lead an international catering and events management business, breaking barriers and inspiring others in the industry. These ambitions drive my dedication to excellence and community welfare,” she said.
She said it was not an easy task to start her business venture and capital was one of the main hurdles she faced in getting her company started.
“Launching my business posed significant challenges, particularly in terms of securing initial capital. Starting with limited funds, I faced the hurdle of financing the early stages of operations. To overcome this, I demonstrated resilience by actively seeking financial support through borrowing money from friends and family. This strategic approach allowed me to kick-start my business and fulfil initial client demands,” she said.
“Additionally, I encountered situations where the demand for my services exceeded my current capabilities. Rather than turning down opportunities, I opted to take on jobs that stretched my capacities. In doing so, I not only fulfilled client expectations, but also gained valuable experience and honed my skills. These challenges, while demanding, played a crucial role in shaping the foundation of my business and reinforcing my determination to succeed,” she told “Business Report”.
Brits said that she currently employs 28 workers and it sometimes increases depending on the number of projects the company takes on.