Empowering entrepreneurs to innovate during uncertainty

Yvonne Dimikatso Mashita

A South African business owner finds ways to innovate, retain her employees and keep her business afloat

The 26th of March 2020 will forever be engraved in the minds of South Africans as the day the world as they knew it changed. It was the day the first lockdown restrictions were announced and many business owners had to temporarily shut their doors. Yvonne Dimikatso Mashita of Pretoria, a qualified dietician who was running her mobile health and wellness business, was no exception. However, as Yvonne learned, challenges can be the very catalyst one needs to build courage. 

Her story dates back to 2012 when she took the plunge and moved to Pretoria to start her own private wellness practice after successfully managing the Dietetics Department at a district hospital in Limpopo. Her new practice did well and steadily grew as she was able to hire two employees until the pandemic hit. 

“When the lockdown was imposed, I had hope that it would only last for three weeks and then come to an end.” More than a year later, South Africa and many other African countries were still under lockdown. Many businesses were negatively impacted by the pandemic and Yvonne was no exception. 

“When the lockdown was put into effect, I made 0% revenue because clients could not come to me. During those difficult times, I tried to use my time effectively. I looked into avenues of self-development, opportunities that would help me learn more about entrepreneurship. That is when I came across the AMI Survive to Thrive programme on the show – Talk with Rams.

“Survive to Thrive exposed me to tools that I was able to use right away. I learnt how to communicate effectively with my employees, budget, and make necessary adjustments to keep my business running.” 

Yvonne says the programme helped her find ways to retain her employees and keep her business afloat. She used AMI’s Innovation tool to help her conceptualise and start a new business.

“I love how I have become innovative and able to identify new business opportunities. I have now launched a Fitness Cafe in partnership with a local gym. We sell healthy supplements, smoothies, and many other products. We also now provide dietary products to our clients instead of prescribing for them to buy at a pharmacy.”

Between March and August last year, Yvonne’s revenue went down. but now things have improved and her revenue is up by 70%. 

“Knowledge is power. Seek help if you do not know the answer. Surround yourself with the right people and ask a lot of questions. Listen, learn and then apply all that you have learned,” she says.

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