Breaking boundaries as a female software developer and entrepreneur at 22
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CAPE TOWN - Kealeboga Xulu is a young software developer and entrepreneur from Johannesburg.
At 22, she is the founder of Kijanii Group, which has several subsidiary brands with Kijanii Tech as its flagship company. Kijanii Tech is an international service provider that offers domain hosting, custom software solutions, cloud computing and many other services that we tech-outsiders do not understand.
Xulu started a tech company because “it felt like the natural thing to do”. Since she was a little girl she was interested in technology, often spending hours playing video games with her little brother. In 2017, Xulu taught herself how to code and since then, has dedicated her life to technology. She believes that everyone should be able to code because it is a form of empowerment in our increasingly tech-dependent world.
It is rare to come across women in the tech industry because it is a heavily male- dominated space. Xulu shares that it is very challenging being a young woman in this industry as her capabilities are undermined on a daily basis. She wants to let other young women aspiring to join the tech field know that they are going to hear a lot of “no’s” and they therefore should have grit and a clear vision in order to persevere.
Xulu’s greatest challenge in starting her business was the lack of capital.
When her mother gave Xulu her allowance, saying that this would be her last one, she decided to put it to good use. She used it to register her company with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and bought a domain on GoDaddy. Without any prior research into starting a business, Xulu set up her website and began her entrepreneurial journey.
Covid-19 has posed a great challenge to Kijanii Tech. During the level 5 lockdown, it could not operate because it was not an “essential business”. During this time, the company suffered a lot. When business resumed, many clients could not pay their retainer fees which resulted in further financial burden.
What drives Xulu to push through hardships is the potential she sees in her business to grow into something huge – a business that can not only employ millions of people but also create a legacy.
Xulu’s passion for entrepreneurship extends to uplifting other entrepreneurs. She is part of The Village Entrepreneurship, a platform that offers mentorship and training programmes to entrepreneurs. She is also a member of Foundhers Circle, a networking platform for local female business owners.
Xulu says that Foundhers Circle has added so much value to her life, whether it be through networking, business opportunities or just a space to be herself.
Her advice to women wanting to start a business: “Just start”. Even if you do not have the capital, the perfect business plan, or any investors – believe in yourself and embrace where are you at this moment.
Learn more about Kealeboga and Kijanii Tech by visiting: https://kijaniitech.co.za/