In this era where a majority of graduates spend endless times going up and down in search of jobs, some are making a living for themselves by going the entrepreneurial way. Moteane Melamu is one of those who, despite having gotten no luck, did not give up on himself and started his own small business.
“I am a young, passionate and motivated individual who believes everything is possible if you put God first.” Moteane said. He was born and raised in Mafeteng. He graduated with a diploma in Mechanical Engineering at Lerotholi Polytechnic and moved to Cape Peninsula University of Technology where he got his degree Baccalaureus Technologiae(Btech) in Mechanical Engineering. After completion of his studies, he struggled to get a job for almost five months, buying newspapers in search of vacancies.
Dark financial times might have seen the colour drain from many people’s faces, but Moteane was quick to mop it up and apply his genius. He started baking biscuits with his sister for fun and decided to go and sell them in his hometown.
Like any start-up business, there were a lot of challenges he faced in the first few months. He made losses on his sales and had trouble raising enough money for capital as well as money to cover the losses until he could break-even. The losses however helped him gain a solid market as they were due to biscuits used for tasting. “I am driven by my passion to succeed; I am not there yet, not even close, but I am working towards that”.
Despite the challenges he met in his business, he never gave up, instead he allowed the failures to be a lesson that helped shape and grow his business.
“The only way to being successful is staying authentic and being true to yourself, and then being the best in what you do,” he emphasized. Currently he sells his biscuits in the streets of Maseru wearing his graduation motorboard to inspire people that ridicule certain jobs just because they are graduates.
With rare exceptions, young entrepreneurs aren’t expected to be emotional beings. Certainly, few devote much time to talking about their feelings publicly. Moteane, however, was quick to admit that it is his passion, learning, reading and investing his time on how to run the business and build a brand that made him a stronger sales person he is now.
Though he seemed jovial and self-deprecating, certain subjects come up too often to be entirely tongue-in-cheek. Building this type of business has clearly been a none-too-smooth journey, with moments of heartache and turmoil.
“Find what you are good at, it being painting, arts, building, wielding; raise some capital, start small but have a big vision. The most important thing is to start! Keep on learning, information changes situations; the more one learns, the more he earns.” He advises.
Moteane is part of the #WearPinkBandanaFridays, an initiative aimed at raising funds for ‘Maseabata Khaile, an oral-cancer patient, by selling pink bandanas. ”For those who lost their loved ones through cancer and those fighting it, we might not fully understand the pain and challenges you are going through but we are keeping you in our prayers and thoughts. To those who had cancer and defeated it, you’re truly an inspiration.” He said.
Graduates like Moteane are honest about what they perceive to be their own shortcomings as well as the failings of an education system and business climate that has proven it is unable to sustain them and their degrees any longer. At the time of publication, Moteane is in Pretoria, South-Africa for 2 weeks attending a business seminar and will also join a youth entrepreneurship event organized by The Innovation Hub where established entrepreneurs Vusi Thembekwayo and Thabo ‘Tbo Touch’ Molefe are keynote speakers.
If you’d like to taste some of the goodies by Moteane, contact him on Facebook or via WhatsApp on: +27 73 409 3459.
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