Geneva Kuypers has the kind of robust energy that fills a room. Her warm personality, friendly nature and aptitude for business are valuable assets for this young businesswoman, who is definitely going places.
The worthy winner of last year’s AccelerateHer initiative (powered by WDB Investment Holdings, Seed Engine and Shell), Geneva took part in our Q&A and is happy to share her business insights.
Q: What business are you in?
A: Geneva Projects and Supplies offers cost effective and professional Health and Safety Services, striving to reduce fatalities and injuries in the workplace and on construction sites.
We provide training on the use of first-aid kits and fire equipment, bringing awareness of safety and fire. We also compile job- and site-specific safety files, to assist contractors to be legally compliant with regard to the OHS Act 85 of 93 and the 2014 Construction Regulations.
Q: What is your relationship with WDBIH/Seed Engine and AccelerateHer?
A: I became part of the AccelerateHer initiative in 2017. AccelerateHer is a fully funded three-month business accelerator for 25 exceptional women entrepreneurs, offering unrivalled training, mentorship and business development support alongside in-depth coaching from successful women. I became the winner of the programme, and the team has been family for me ever since.
Q: As the winner of last year’s AccelerateHer initiative, how has your life/business changed?
A: This has been an exciting journey for me; looking back it’s just unbelievable! I grew with such tremendous speed and achieved so much in a very short space of time.
As an entrepreneur, it is very important to equip and educate yourself on an ongoing basis. With the help of this program, I’m proud to say that I’m busy with my national diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, have completed my SAMTRAC diploma and have registered as a technical member with SAIOSH (The South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health).
In addition to further training, I went from three paying clients to 11 AND went from no exposure to construction sites to now giving onsite training – all this with the help of AccelerateHer.
Q: What essential skills did you learn as part of the AccelerateHer initiative?
A: The AccelerateHer programme has pushed me to another level. My whole being, thinking and decision-making has been influenced in such a positive way. My confidence level has grown so much and they have instilled in me a lot of skills to implement in my business.
Q: What are the challenges facing businesswomen in South Africa?
A: As women entrepreneurs we are tasked with a lot of challenges: Tough competition against our male counterparts; limited funding (but we should never allow this to set us back); the challenges of the work/life balance, as well as minimal support and lack of education.
Q: Any advice you can give to other entrepreneurs out there?
A: Entrepreneurship is not easy! I was fortunate to have been part of a programme like AccelerateHer where I have had phenomenal mentors who have helped and motivated me so much. As an upcoming entrepreneur, get yourself a mentor – you need that support and guidance.
I’d also say continue to educate yourself on your business, your industry and the product you selling. In my view, the learning should never stop.
Very importantly, connect with like-minded women, because the women you spend your time with will have a great impact on the life you live. I have been very blessed with great women in my life – these women push me every day not to give up.
And then my final words of wisdom, there will be a lot of NOs, but never, ever give up.
Q: What are your goals and aims for the future?
A: My goal is to be one of biggest women-owned occupational health and safety companies in construction and to educate and expose more young girls to this environment.
I have a foundation called “worthyisshe” where I take young girls under my wing, train and educate them on occupational health and safety and expose them to health and safety in construction.
My hope is for my foundation to reach every girl in every area in South Africa.
Q: Your motto in life?
A: If you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you.
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4kNoTuUivI