Sibongile Booi – is an Eastern Cape born business woman from Butterworth, who studied in Love Dale College and Lesotho. She furthered her academic career at the University of Canada and worked there for 12 years. In 2009 she came back home and then two years later she started a business called Second Office in East London. She returned to the Eastern Cape because she wanted to settle down in an area where everything is found in one place. She stated that “No matter where you are around the world at the end of the day you long for home”. Despite all of that the quality of life I find here is much better than what I had in all other countries that I have been to “says Ms Booi.
In 2011, I started Second Office with an objective of helping people in maintaining their professional image. What I realised is that people have businesses but they never take time to present that professional image. So I felt that Second Office could be a space where people can come to have their professional greetings and other work related activities. Most of all Second Office helps to provide that back office that a many companies lack. Second Office allows you to run your business and we run your office that is our slogan, as we also look after your administration side.
And there’s a lot of experience that we can share with businesses that wants to be well rounded and not only to be good at what they do but also have the back office to support them in making sure they are sustainable. She did a pilot project to check whether there is need in the market for Second Office to operate in East London, because there are people who travel for business to East London. Therefore, they will require a professional place where they can discuss serious business deals in private rather than being in coffee shops or restaurants.
MY WORD OF ADVICE TO YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANTS TO START THIER OWN BUSINESSES
Equip yourselves with knowledge and understanding of the industry and the business that you want to start. Your core business must be aligned with your skills and expertise so as to match your services, financials and administration to ensure that the business is sustainable. Also surround yourself with people that will advise and guide you towards the right direction. In business you have to be a student – this means that you have to study your market, your customer and do research about the products and services that you want to offer.
MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EASTERN CAPE
I would like to contribute in business development whereby I conduct entrepreneurship workshops that will assist small businesses through the development phase. These workshops would be based on a checklist of essential needs that each and every business needs from your tax advices to your bookkeeping. As much as one operates his/her own business we cannot ignore what is happening around us. Therefore one has to give back where they can make a difference.