Sinah Mojanko, a South African recycling entrepreneur creating opportunities and jobs — Lionesses of Africa

What inspired you to start your company?

My experience working at ABSA where we were financing small businesses, my career in the HR space, and my husband who has always been an entrepreneur, inspired me to start this business. There was a time when the business was doing extremely well, and at that time we had taken away from the streets a few Nyaope addicts and had appointed them at our firm. They changed drastically to be better people and some even stopped smoking. They took care of themselves as they got the sense of how good it feels to be clean, have clean clothes on (which my husband had bought for them). Some even went back and re-united with their families. The management changed and things started slowing down and my husband went into the corporate space and worked full time. With time and the entrepreneurial spirit in him, he felt he needed to go back and be self-employed again. By the time he decided that, I had already started with the company registration process and had started marketing clients for our business and had secured a few (KitKat stores around Pretoria). We unfortunately at that time had no bakkie (car) to use for collecting at those stores and unfortunately lost the business opportunity to somebody else. But because we already had a client base of collectors, we got the business up and running with what and who we had. To date we are still in operation and getting stronger by the day.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

The company buys its recyclables from those Moms, Dads, Brothers and Sisters who are always out there on the streets, whether sunny or rainy, collecting those recyclables that we just throw everywhere (also keeping and maintaining our environment’s cleanliness) thus enabling them to provide for their family’s needs and also to be able to put food on their tables. We also buy our stock from the municipality dumping sites where a lot of retrenched, unskilled and skilled labourers resorted to due to lack of unemployment, thus enabling them to have financial distress. We also collect from schools, different companies and different shopping complexes/ malls.

Tell us a little about your team

We are a team of four which includes 1 sorter, 1 bailer (both based at the company’s site), the driver (collector/relationship builder and maintainer).

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

It all started when I was in middle school. I would plait people’s hair for R10 per head and used that money to help with a few little things at home. I then later started a mini car wash where I would offer to wash cars over weekends. I really loved the entrepreneurial route after starting my career at ABSA Small Business division where I would engage and interact with a lot of women entrepreneurs who then inspired me, but the cherry on top was meeting my husband who has been an entrepreneur when we first met to date.

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

The plan is to own a recycling plant where we will have a drop off area for all small (individuals) and large (companies) collectors, then supply big recycling organisations with bails and also export to other countries. I would also like to see us owing a recycling centre where we will be developing, mentoring and coaching recycling entrepreneurs.

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