“I’m a dreamer. I want to continue to grow my business and I want to help other people start their own business.”

Some people might say Bessie Mogale was born to be an entrepreneur. She was raised by an independent mother and a grandmother who owned a butchery, a grocery store and other shops. As a young girl, she learned quickly that she could profit by selling oranges given to her by her mother and use the money to buy sweets.

As a single mother of three, Bessie’s path has not been an easy one. Her will to succeed and provide a better future for her family unleashed her entrepreneurial passion and led her to establish her first tuck shop in 2004. A “tuck shop” is a small store where customers purchase items from a window.

Her business did well and began to grow – so much so that she was able to expand from her tuck shop to a larger shop and then a mini supermarket that sells many basic necessities such as maize meal, sugar, tea, coffee, paper products, vegetables and cold beverages.

What was her formula for success? Listening to her customers, offering high quality products at fair prices and business skills training courses.

Her representative from the local Coca-Cola bottler, Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI), told Bessie about The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 skills workshop for women in business. She had the opportunity to attend and benefit from the workshop in 2010, learning basic business skills such as how to invest her money, how to balance budgets and manage stock inventory.

The workshop changed the way Bessie ran her business, and as a result, her hard work translated to increased income and the ability to raise her three sons. She has provided a comfortable home for them, put food on the table, and paid for all three to attend university. Her children are now grown and working successfully to support their families.

Bessie’s journey as an entrepreneur is far from over. Bessie now mentors other entrepreneurial business women by empowering them with the necessary skills she learned to efficiently run their own businesses.

In her words, “I’m a dreamer. I want to continue to grow my business and I want to help other people start their own business.”