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From Being A Petrol Attendant To A Multi-millionaire

She started her company – quite literally – with small change. Now, 13 years later, Sibongile Nonyane-Mphilo’s security business boasts an impressive R77 million annual turnover.

Unwavering determination to succeed and hard work were what took Sibongile Nonyane-Mphilo (40) from pumping petrol in a service station to signing multimillion-rand deals in the boardroom. The CEO and founder of Sibongile Security Services started her security business with just R10 000 that she’d saved up in tips from working as a petrol pump attendant. She’s built up an impressive empire with eight provincial offices, a staff of 1 200, more than 150 firearms and over 50 vehicles.

Her entrepreneurial journey

Her current lifestyle is a far cry from her impoverished Tembisa childhood. “We were struggling financially – often there wasn’t enough to eat. Both my parents were unemployed, so I had to help,” she recalls.

From Being A Petrol Attendant To A Multi-millionaire
Desperate to contribute to the household, Nonyane-Mphilo did a security course, hoping it would lead to employment. “I thought a qualification would help me find a job, but even after qualifying, I couldn’t find steady work. The security industry’s very male-dominated and companies are reluctant to hire women.” Instead, she became a petrol attendant and cashier at an Engen garage in Tembisa, but still nursed bigger dreams. “I used my salary to support my family, but saved all the tips I made. It was difficult not being able to dip into my savings when we lacked so much at home, but I kept my focus. I ensured I was friendly, polite and always had a smile on my face.
My strategy paid off, as I got bigger tips which I knew would be the seed capital for my business,” she says.

Eventually, learning that there were more opportunities for women-owned businesses in Polokwane, she went about setting up and registering Sibongile Security Services in 2002, despite the distance from Tembisa and the lack of private transport.

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