South African LiveWIRE entrepreneur becomes Shell supplier
Dec 12, 2016
Thabitha Malinga, a recent graduate of the Shell LiveWIRE South Africa enterprise development programme, has developed an employee wellness initiative which has become part of Shell South Africa’s supply chain.
Shell LiveWIRE South Africa enabled Thabitha to turn her dream of starting her own beauty spa business into a reality, and her business, TMS Mobile Spa, offers a variety of beauty treatments in workplaces or homes in the Johannesburg area. TMS targets busy people who don’t have the time to go to a spa, but who are looking to relieve stress as part of their wellness journey, or as part of a corporate wellness programme.
As part of her entrepreneurial education and business development journey with Shell LiveWIRE, Thabitha had to pitch her business idea to experts from Shell, including senior managers from CSI, ER and C&P, and she was awarded top honours based on the viability of her business plan, and her ability to take her start-up to market.
The potential for TMS to enter Shell’s supply chain was spotted by Social Investment Adviser, and Shell LiveWIRE South Africa Programme Manager, Ntobeko Mogadime, who saw an opportunity for TMS to play a role in the Shell Wellness programme which is run by Shell South Africa’s Health Department. The programme focuses on employee wellness by encouraging a healthy lifestyle through offering a range of services ranging from special Wellness Days held a couple of times a year where employees can have their BMI, blood sugar and cholesterol checked, and receive a massage to relieve stress. The programme also provides: free gym classes and fitness competitions; access to dieticians to improve diet; education on posture at work; and, a peer educator programme where volunteers educate colleagues on HIV and overall health issues.
Following an introductory meeting between Thabitha and Dr Lerato Mtoba, the Head of Shell South Africa’s Health Department, TMS was approved as a vendor and was given the opportunity to advertise its services to staff.
TMS was contracted to deliver a wellness day to Shell employees on 9th December, during which Thabitha and her team gave staff the opportunity to have a 15 minute foot or back massage, and, impressed by the quality and professionalism of the service, many of the staff also took the opportunity to purchase their own manicure or pedicure. A special Shell LiveWIRE breakfast briefing at the start of the day enabled Shell staff to learn more about the programme, and Thabitha gave an inspiring talk about her journey as an entrepreneur, and how she struggled to form a viable business until she joined the Shell LiveWIRE programme.
Ntobeko Mogadime, Programme Manager of Shell LiveWIRE South Africa, said, “Inviting Thabitha to tell her story as an entrepreneur that graduated from LiveWIRE proved to be a great way to raise awareness among employees on the successes of LiveWIRE, and also to start a conversation between our employees on how they can get involved with the programme, or to share it with their friends and family members who want to start a business.
“Her story inspired employees and there was a great attendance, with staff queuing to receive a massage. The whole day was a great success, and an eye-opener as to the type of engagements that make the biggest impression on staff.”
Commenting on the importance that the Shell LiveWIRE South Africa programme places on creating opportunities for its entrepreneurs within Shell’s supply chain, Ntobeko said, “One of the aims of the Shell LiveWIRE programme is to assist entrepreneurs to gain access to market. More importantly, the Shell LiveWIRE programme in South Africa aims to create 50% black owned and 30% black women owned businesses to enter our supply chain to provide economic development and create local content.
“TMS is a good example of how social investment can work closely with other Shell functions to identify potential links between our alumni and the needs of the business. We are pleased with TMS’ achievements and we look forward to finding more market solutions for our existing alumni and creating new start-ups aligned to our supply chain.”
Commenting on the success of her wellness day for Shell, Thabitha said, “I am grateful to Shell LiveWIRE for enabling me to become a Shell vendor, which has not only taken TMS Mobile Spa to greater heights in business, but has given us exposure within the market.”