Thabang Dlamini the founder and CEO of BATE Enterprises was introduced into starting his own business when he was still in university at UKZN studying Law. BATE Retard was his first clothing brand, it all then grew into bigger dimensions and branches.
Thabang saw an opportunity to make his company grow into different branches. His aim has always been to create employment for unemployed youth. All his businesses have blossomed right through from the year 2015.
He shared his journey in the entrepreneurial world and how it hasn’t been an easy road. “I encounter a lot of challenges mainly because I’m very young ,and people are likely not to trust you because of your age ,at some point I would have to lie to them about my age, my biggest advantage right now is having a beard .However I had to work harder just to prove myself . Sometimes running out of capital would be the hardest part about being an entrepreneur and a business owner. You can have lot of money today and be broke the next day, because you have to meet deadlines, seek new business opportunities. The famous idiom says you have to spend money to make money.. it’s true, but as long as you believe in yourself and your dream, you’ll do just fine”
Where do you see BATE in 5 years?
I’m already venturing into other African countries with contacts in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. However in 5 years I see BATE competing with the Big boys Remgro, Well that could be wishful thinking but I know it’ll happen.
How has Covid affected your way of work?
I’ve lost business and income because of covid and most of my branches had to shutdown to cut down expenses and I had to let go of many people because I could no longer keep them.
Thabang also shared with us on how his main aim is to give uneducated youth work experience and help them grow. “Young people are the future , sadly they are the most affected by unemployment”, he says.
BATE’s different branches are : BATE Real Estate ,BATE Enterprise, BATE Logistics, BATE Agency, BATE Wolf Security. BATE shisanyama and BATE Liquor are coming soon.
“To all the young people who want to be in business, my advice would be, Just start, just do it! Even if you are broke or you don’t have a plan, just start..that’s all that matters”.