Bright fu­ture for young en­tre­pre­neur

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Amuke­lani Chauke

FOR­MER school­boy self-starter has suc­cess all stitched up with his ex­cit­ing range of ur­ban wear.

What started out as a T-shirt print­ing hobby for Gugulethu-born Thabiso Mokomele has grown into an award-winning cloth­ing busi­ness.

Mokomele won first prize in the City of Cape Town’s #YouthS­tartCT entrepreneurial chal­lenge – which came with a R10 000 cash prize, a lap­top and busi­ness sup­port.

Es­tab­lished in 2008, T-squared Cloth­ing pro­duces hand-made ur­ban wear, in­clud­ing T-shirts, hood­ies, bean­ies, caps and track pants.

#YouthS­tartCT is about pro­vid­ing a plat­form for the abun­dance of cre­ative busi­ness ideas to help young peo­ple learn how to grow their busi­nesses and be­come em­ploy­ers.

Mokomele said the award did not come easy, and that hard work and sweat over the years cou­pled with pas­sion got his busi­ness to where it is to­day.

“I think ev­ery en­tre­pre­neur in busi­ness goes through that phase when you feel you want to quit but I think it re­ally boils down to pas­sion. You have to be pas­sion­ate about what you are do­ing.”

The com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­is­ers said Mokomele’s cloth­ing car­ries slo­gans that en­cour­age peo­ple to push past the lim­i­ta­tions of poverty, adding that the sign above the door of his garage in Gugulethu, where he hand-crafts the gar­ments, says it all: ‘There is no suc­cess with­out hard­ship.

Mokomele’s jour­ney has been in­ter­est­ing. While he was at Rhodes High School in Mow­bray, he printed T-shirts and sold them to his friends as a hobby and to help fi­nance his ed­u­ca­tion. In 2010, he reg­is­tered for a B Ad­min De­gree ma­jor­ing in Hu­man Re­sources Man­age­ment. He con­tin­ued his T-shirt print­ing busi­ness while study­ing and in his fi­nal year, he pur­chased his first sewing ma­chine.

He fin­ished his Hon­ours De­gree in 2014 and in 2015, he joined Wool­worths for a year as an HR grad­u­ate. His busi­ness was do­ing well, how­ever, and he chose to turn down the op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend his con­tract with the fran­chise.

In 2017, he opened a sec­ond store in Joburg and em­ployed another two peo­ple, in ad­di­tion to his three Cape Town em­ploy­ees. Last year, Mokomele won the 2017 KFM and Lead SA Young En­tre­pre­neur of the Year Award.

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