There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise; a woman with a goal and the drive to achieve. Gugulethu Siso is one such aspiring woman.
Siso is the founder of Thumeza, a logistics platform providing affordable and accountable real time coordination of goods. Their service offering spans from freight to last mile services.
Gugulethu’s first concrete exposure to entrepreneurship was straight after high school while waiting for her exam results. Fearing what bored young minds could get up to, her best friend’s father forced them to intern at a car tracking company. It was there where she was exposed to all facets of entrepreneurship from managing employees to product knowledge & quality control, which proved to be a more complex task than she anticipated. After university, where she gained a Business Administration degree from the University of Namibia, she interned as a business development associate at a business accelerator where her love for entrepreneurship was truly nurtured.
From there, she co-founded a successful start-up in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space providing trolley management solutions in Namibia. When she exited in 2017, the company had netted venture capital investment, and counted retail giants such as Woolworths, Shoprite Checkers, Metro and Pick n Pay as clients. With Thumeza, Siso is working to ensure the company becomes the number one delivery solutions provider in the entire SADC region.
Although similar start-ups exist, Thumeza firmly believes that logistics goes merely beyond moving goods from point A to point B. They strive to provide empathetic solutions that are powered by data from their clients. Thumeza is unique in that it uses one solution to provide quotations moving goods from as high as 30 tonnes from production point all the way down to one kilogram distributed to the end consumer’s doorstep.
Thumeza initially started as a two-man band and now has a team of five permanent employees with over 400 partner drivers and have recently hired a Chief Technological Officer (CTO) to continue improving efficiency.
As with many start-ups, Thumeza has faced numerous challenges within a sometimes-restrictive environment. Planning for the future has especially been challenging. To curb the uncertainty, they have adapted a long-term vision with extremely short-term planning and execution blocks, for example OKRs, (Objective and Key Results), on a month to month basis. This allows them to effectively pivot, while remaining true to their vision.
When asked how the Youth Connekt journey was for her, Gugulethu had this to say: ”Being a part of Youth Connekt has given us access to invaluable networks that normally one would not have access to. Looking at just your fellow participants, one knows that they have a contact person in any area of Zimbabwe, allowing you to grow your business with the least amount of hassle due to home ground knowledge. I would urge all aspiring applicants to throw caution to the wind and apply. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
As for the impact of coronavirus on Thumeza they said: “We have been lucky enough to have had first-mover positioning and advantage within the last mile delivery market, allowing us to hold many enterprises’ hands as they explored e-commerce solutions. This experience has fostered many relationships that usually would have taken longer and we look forward to taking advantage of the new networks we have fostered”
To get in touch with Thumeza visit their media pages below:
Why is it important for Africa to have home-grown solutions to the delivery predicament? How long do you think it will take Thumeza to become a SADC giant in the industry? Share your views in the comments section below: