Meet Rheineth Modiselle, winner of the WomHub Pitch-Off
Her company Bokamoso Recycling contributes to the Circular Economy in South Africa
WomHub is a boutique incubator, accelerator and co-working hub for female founders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing) businesses.
The focus is on the global shift towards building a more just, equitable and sustainable world. The WomHub Circular Economy Incubator is a year-long hybrid programme that kicked off in June 2021, bringing together 25 South African women ecopreneurs with early-stage businesses in circular and green economy.
Rheineth Modiselle, founder of Bokamoso Recycling, recently won the pitch off at the WomHub Founder Showcase, which was the culmination of 10 months of business development support, access to funding and leadership development for the founders who’ve been participating in WomHub’s Circular Economy Incubator and Economic Growth Accelerator programmes funded by the Finnish Embassy in South Africa and the South African Future Trust. ,
We reached out to Rheineth to find out about her business Bokamoso Recycling, and what has inspired and contributed to her success.
Read below and feel inspired!
Q: Congratulations Rheineth! Please can you share a bit about what inspired you to start your business?
“I had just quit my job; I was unemployed and actively looking for opportunities. I came across a man crushing glass bottles and asked him what he was doing. We had a long conversation wherein he explained the difficulties he was facing. I had a solution for him and the glass recycler’s problems and that is how Bokamoso Recycling was born. The opportunity found me because I was also searching and ready for it.”
Q: Your mission “to repurpose glass to develop communities” is inspiring. What is your role in, and contribution to, the circular economy?
“We purchase crushed glass from our recyclers and sell it to our partner buy back centres (although soon we will be selling our glass directly to CONSOL, which is the largest manufacturer of glass in Southern Africa). In doing this we divert glass from ending up in the landfill. Glass repurposed provides sustainable incomes in the community and is good for the environment. To date we have diverted over 6000 tons of glass from being landfilled.”
Q: The entrepreneurial journey can be challenging, as well as fulfilling. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome these?
“The impact of Covid 19 was the biggest challenge mentally, financially and emotionally. Having to let go of staff and closing our doors for some months was hard. Learning to be resilient and agile were tools that allowed me to go back to the drawing board, re-evaluate my business strategy and find partners who would help me achieve this strategy.”
Q: In addition to winning the pitch off, how have you most benefitted from participating in WomHub’s Circular Economy Incubator programme?
“Having a community of like-minded businesswomen was helpful as we learnt, inspired and leaned on each other. We had master classes which helped by equipping us with essential business tools, and mentors who were there to advise and guide us.”
Q: What is your vision for growing your business and how can people support you in achieving this?
“I would love an 8-ton crane truck (laughs). We are waiting for our vendor application with Consol to be approved, then we’ll be renting out an 8-ton crane truck for a few months until the bank can assist us with asset finance. This will allow us to reach and service even more glass recyclers, in addition to the over 200 glass recyclers we service.
If there is an investment fund that we appeal to, please reach out, or anyone who knows anyone with an 8-ton crane truck they are not making use of. Please reach out to me at email@example.com.”
Q: Do you have any final thoughts to share to help encourage other business founders?
“There are plenty of local and international organizations which are actively looking to help people start and grow businesses, in almost every sector, especially for young women. I encourage you to keep looking out for opportunities and don’t be afraid of knocking on those doors.”
Thank you to Rheineth for sharing this insight and inspiration, and all the best to her and her business Bokamoso Recycling!