South Africa: The Hope Factory celebrates women in business who inspire change

March 2014, Johannesburg – Today on International Woman’s Day, The Hope Factory is saluting women in South Africa who have a ‘never-say-die’ attitude – the women who inspire change. Puso Fisher is one such person. Fisher is the owner of Ofensay Photography & Events in Johannesburg. She says, “In my view success is not an event. It is the outcome of preparation and persistence.”

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is: Inspiring Change. It encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance to inspire positive change.

It‘s refreshing to meet an inspiring young entrepreneur in South Africa who has done this. Fisher left the corporate world to start her own business and live her dream.

She enrolled in The Hope Factory’s Enterprise and Supplier Development programme, which features a strong mentorship element, last year. She says: “I have gained much more than I expected from the programme. The greatest input I received was concerning my overall business strategy. For example, how to position my business to attract the clients I want to attract.”

Fisher says, “The mentorship is very effective – having someone to fuel your vision and brainstorm solutions to business challenges is invaluable. The training workshops are practical and address current business needs. The Hope Factory also provides a platform to network with like-minded individuals, gain access to markets and obtain capital investment to grow my business. In less than six months on the programme, my business turnover doubled.”

While Fisher has benefitted from the inputs of The Hope Factory’s programme, she has advice for other female entrepreneurs: “An entrepreneur needs resilience and patience. And, more importantly, one needs a sense of excellence – in order to provide a competitive offering of high quality and value to clients.”

Being your own boss comes with great lessons. “I have learned to embrace uncertainty and to release myself from the urge to control every detail of my journey – that is a decision I have to make almost daily. I have learned to be fearlessly persistent – hearing “no” from a prospective client does not faze me anymore, I simply move on. Success is about much more than money – if your business makes a positive difference in the lives of its employees and surrounding communities, in my view it is a successful business, although the money is obviously welcome.”