SEOLA MASHAMAITE (36)
Owner of Mon-Cal, Johannesburg
Coming from an underprivileged background in rural Limpopo Province, creating employment and upskilling South Africans give Mashamaite the most fulfilment. After matriculating, she studied chemical engineering, which she says she found boring, but graduated in metrology and was delighted to work as a metrologist for a company which specialised in calibration.
“I love educating people about calibration. My favourite example is when I tell them about the scale used at shops to weigh tomatoes. Are we all aware that it needs to be calibrated yearly, if not every six months? Do we even check whether that’s been done?” Calibration is used in industries from food and motoring to the medical field.
She now has her own accredited laboratory specialising in equipment calibration services, a business she started in 2015. Needing at least R200 000 to ensure she was both accredited and had the relevant equipment, she was able to produce a turnover of R1,9 million within a year.
Mashamaite says her greatest achievement is being the only black female in SA to own an accredited calibration laboratory. “The pride I feel in being able to represent other black women and say: ‘We’re capable!’ is huge,” she says.
Her advice to others wanting to work in the industry is to persevere and learn as much as they can by attending industry meetings. “Dream big and make school and books your friends. Where I lived as a child, we only received the Sunday newspapers on Monday and I read the career pages religiously, trying to figure out what I wanted to be. Be patient and kind to yourself as you navigate your path,” she says.