“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up” – Babe Ruth

Sebolelo Diale, owner and director of Imania Corporate Hygiene Services, attended the Tshwane Economic Development Agency’s (TEDA) 2015 SMME Fair where her company exhibited their service offering to potential clients, funding institutions and peers. As the event drew to an end, Business Enterprises at University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd (BE at UP) delegates thoughtfully reviewed the SMME exhibitions and selected the “Best Exhibition Stand” of the day, which was displayed by Diale and her staff. Her business won business consulting services of her choice, from BE at UP.

Imania Corporate Hygiene Services was brought to life in 2007, when the concept of industrial cleaning was very lucrative and highly attractive to entrepreneurs looking to break into the business world. The completion within this niche grew tougher and many of her competitors went out of business. It was not easy but Diale stayed in business simply because she chose to empower herself and staff by “equipping themselves with knowledge and attending educational training courses”.

“For a long time I had envisioned growing our business through improving its marketing and increasing the visibility of the company to the market,” explains Diale, electing to use her winnings for marketing consulting services for her company.

Diale’s ambition is contagious. It took her four gruelling years before she turned her first profit and this talks volumes to her dedication as a leader. Today she boasts a growing client list spanning the public and private sector, however, she still has hopes of growing her business into a sustainable enterprise. “As we progress, our vision is to reach a place where our business will provide a niche service to our clients, differentiated from our other industry competitors,” says Diale.

The company’s service offering includes corporate and forensic cleaning, laundry services and the supply of consumables related to hygiene. With the help obtained from BE at UP, Diale hopes to see her business grow so that she can provide employment to more people. “I only employ people who to want to excel with me,” she says. In her spare time, she mentors young women and start-up SMME’s. In 2014 she founded, and is now president, of the Leading Ladies’ Business Forum, a platform for women entrepreneurs to inspire, motivate and mentor each another in their respective businesses.

BE at UP continues to invest in the empowerment of SMME’s, on an annual basis, through strategic enterprise development interventions aimed at improving up-and-coming companies. Enterprise development initiatives form an integral part of BE at UP’s commitment to creating sustainable communities and is one of the most important endeavours of its organisational responsibility programmes.

BE at UP draws on the expertise of 140 disciplines from nine faculties of the University of Pretoria in offering research and consulting services. With this unique blend of practical and academic expertise, BE at UP offers a multidisciplinary range of scientifically informed and evidence-led solutions. For more information visit www.be.up.ac.za

Above: The Imania Corporate Hygiene Services team with TEDA and BE at UP delegates