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Durban University of Technology (DUT) alumnus Sanele Khambule talks about his journey to entrepreneurship and the role the DUT Centre for Social Entrepreneurship played in shaping his career. 

Khambule is a final-year Financial Accounting student and the owner of the company called Swelihle Consultancy (Pty) Ltd, which is a leading, outsourced cleaning company, and currently employs a total of 30 employees from skilled to semi-skilled workers. The services that his company offer include contract cleaning, hygiene solutions, labour outsourcing, specialised cleaning, and recycling services. 

“We started in 2017 with a few cleaners. Today Swelihle Consultancy affords companies as well as individuals a professional contract cleaning service that excels in every aspect. When I was doing my second year at DUT towards my Diploma in Financial Accounting, I saw the need of going into business which was greatly motivated by my parents who have always been self-employed,” said Khambule. 

Explaining further, he said he knew he loved the idea of running his own business and being an employer one day. 

“This, I saw from my childhood because as far as I can remember I would be selling something. I remember when my parents had left me with some money to buy ice lollies or what is referred to as (Iziqeda) in the Zulu Language. I had discovered that my relatives whom where my age group loved them and wanted to buy them, but they did not have enough money. This prompted me to sell the ice lollies with stones (Amatshe) at a good price and at the time I was only eight years old,” he said. 

Khambule said that the hunger for being in business saw him having his very first tuckshop at the age of nine where he sold chips, sweets and lolly pops. 

“Selling had been a custom to me, something I would do for living or to keep myself out of trouble. This had gone on until I was in high school where I sold hot dogs in the school transport bus and further on sold airtime as my dad had funded me with machine that printed airtime,” he said. 

Also, as he grew up he saw the need to delve into the hygiene industry.  

“Seeing the need of hygiene in our day to day living, I was motivated to register a company with the regulatory bodies within the cleaning industry. This was also motivated by the time and experience I had gained working in my friend’s company, who was a pest control officer at the time,” he said. 

Explaining how the DUT Centre for Social Entrepreneurship shaped him as an entrepreneur for his journey to entrepreneurship, he said that the DUT Centre for Social Entrepreneurship had been the pillar of strength through his entrepreneurial success, not only have they motivated him and his team but have made themselves available into skilling and training him and his team. 

“The time they have invested in us as SMME’s has been of great assistance. The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship has made resources available at our disposal to not only see the change in our entities but be part of the change by constantly communicating with us via email or WhatsApp and ensuring we are not left behind in all announcements locally and internationally. The Social Entrepreneurship programme has been like an alarm system reminding you not to give up and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. 

In terms of his business plans, going forward, he indicated that due to the current pandemic and limitations of spaces in the university, his company has identified a gap in the training and skills sector market.  

“Currently, the plans are to be accredited with training accreditation for Health and Safety. This will assist us in training the community and country on the importance of hygiene standards and as well developing a need for training staff dealing with food and beverages,” he said. 

Khambule stressed that constant hard work is key in any business.  

His advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs is that being in business is always a difficult challenge for everyone. 

“You will need to value the time spent on your business, the difficult and the joyful moments, above all appreciate the tough times for they are there to ensure that you are experienced in dealing with all those matters,” he said. 

Pictured: DUT alumnus Sanele Khambule. 

Waheeda Peters/ Snelisiwe Hlongwane

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