Dial M for secret to mobile success
Business leader's passion is telecoms
LYNETTE Magasa has found her niche in the telecoms industry and is making the most of it.
Magasa, the founder and chief executive of Boniswa Corporate Solutions, relishes her multiple roles as businesswoman, mother, wife, leader and postgraduate student. “Boniswa ” means “vision”. Her company started out as a subcontractor, installing masts for MTN and Vodacom in 2004, but she expanded it into a fully-fledged turnkey solution entity, erecting network equipment for the industry ’ s major role players.
Born in Swaziland, she started her career as a receptionist at stateowned defence technology conglomerate Denel.
After studying human resources, she was promoted to the human resources administrator’s post.
“I found my passion in telecoms from doing administrative work, and later radio frequency upgrading, but the turning point came when I began doing work for Vodacom through Siemens.”
With start-up capital of R700 000 and help from her husband, who was employed at Vodacom in the early 2000s, she was introduced and shown the ropes.
“As an entrepreneur I started out as a subcontractor to MTN, but partnering with Plessey, the provider of turnkey telecoms infrastructure solutions, boosted our business profile,” Magasa says.
“The breakthrough came in 2005, when I managed to access clients such as MTN, Vodacom and Telkom without the middleman.
“For the first time I had direct access to clients.
“The game became more interesting as the clients paid me directly and in advance. That’s how I realised growth as well as an increasing demand to install more telecoms masts.”
In 2009, Magasa applied for financial assistance from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF). It took a year and a half before she was offered a R17-million loan.
“I’m afraid of debt, but most importantly I hate it. We sat down with my hubby to discuss the offer and we eventually decided to take R5-million in 2012.
“My clients were paying up front, so there was no need for a huge loan. Installation projects were coming our way thick and fast.
“I started travelling a lot, visiting clients on site. The workload was becoming overwhelming.
“I appointed an audit firm to take care of the books and corporate lawyers to protect me against the more established roleplayers.”
“The NEF did not only fund us, but also helped us up our game, held our hands and showed us the way forward, setting up proper business management structures. It was a case of sinking or swimming.”
Today Magasa is the proud owner of the biggest and only black woman-owned supplier to the telecoms industry.
She says her 78 employees all have a sense of belonging to the Boniswa Corporate Solutions family, which has an annual turnover of more than R40-million. Many have been there since the start.
“It becomes a collective responsibility to make the company successful.”
With a strategic partner in Poynting Antenna, Magasa says taking on new projects have been easy.
She has a national diploma in logistics, a BTech degree in IT and is currently studying for her Master’s in IT and will be enrolling for a Phd thereafter.
The business is operational in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, as well as Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.
It’s a BEE-compliant company, using the services of approved contractors.
Her aim is to retire as an academic, teaching informatics at the highest level.
Magasa ’ s company has won several awards, including the BBQ 2013 Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal New and Innovative Business award.
It was a finalist in the 2013 Topco Top Women Awards.
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