Philanthropist and mompreneur, Makentse Mampeule’s entrepreneurial spirit is pushing her not just to ideate, but take action and tackle long time socio-economic issues. She is the co-founder of Mampeule Foundation that is on a drive to make a change within the education and health sectors.
Our writer Melissa Nare speaks to her about her work within the foundation, her own home scent brand and what it means being a young leader.
Ignited Woman Mag: Please briefly tell us about yourself and where this formidable force is from?
I was born and raised in Daveyton, Benoni. After qualifying with my bachelor’s degree in business administration and human resources Diploma, I joined the property industry working for an Investment Holding Company as an Administration Manager and managed the group’s real estate learnership program. I later worked for an insurance regulatory body, SASRIA as an executive assistant to the group CEO, then later moved to what was close to my heart, which was human resources at Werkmans Attorneys.
When I became a mom to my two boys, I decided to leave the corporate world and be a stay-at-home mom. This job title is what later led me to registering and obtaining a certificate in Early Childhood Development with Harvard University.
Currently I’m a mompreneur with a home fragrance business - LAMBENT by Makentse. I'm also the co-founder of our family foundation – The Mampeule Foundation.
What kind of work does the foundation do?
The Mampeule Foundation is a leading non-profit organisation in South Africa, that provides support to initiatives providing bursaries to undergraduate students and post graduate students in the field of innovative building technologies, through our collaboration with the University of Johannesburg.
We also partake in global health – through Global Surgery Foundation which we are the founding donors. GSF seeks to address unmet needs of surgical care globally especially to developing countries and third world countries.
We provide property education through our Property Mentorship Program and masterclasses and local community development such as building homes to underprivileged families and funding organisations that are women led and benefit woman and children. To date, The Mampeule Foundation has funded approximately 90 students to the value of over five million rands and have impacted over 500 individuals.
What has inspired your entrepreneurial and philanthropic journey?
My upbringing has motivated most of what I do and how I do it. I was raised by women - grandmother, mom and aunts - who all inspired me. They taught me self-love, the love of God and being a kind human, to work smart, work hard, to be disciplined. They also instilled in me the power of education and the perseverance to do it all with love, compassion and elegance.
My husband’s success has encouraged me to have an “I too can” attitude. My exposures and travels have played a major role is pushing me to always do better and how to appreciate the little things. My two sons inspire me daily to lead by example.
What are some of the challenges you have faced since you started the foundation?
The rewards of seeing students graduate, seeing families walk into their new homes and the impact on the communities we touch, always far outweighs the challenges and that is what keeps us motivated at The Mampeule Foundation.
However, the challenge of not always having enough resources to fully supply the demands of many needy South Africans, can be disheartening. With the recent pandemic and now global recession, many more families are negatively affected which leads to a further strain on the efficiency in meeting the needs of communities and our beneficiaries.
Secondly maintaining a balance between the cost of running a foundation and funding our beneficiaries.
What does it mean to you being a young woman in leadership?
When I think about leadership, I think that we should never differentiate between young and old leadership, we should not differentiate between genders, leadership should be neutral across all genders and ages, it should be standard.
As a leader you need to know exactly who you are and what you stand for, to be a leader with unshakable ethics, you need to be decisive, and you should be driven and be confident.
You also need to inspire confidence in those that you are leading, competency is key and being an effective communicator is also vital. When it comes to the youth, especially considering where our country is, I think it is very important that as a leader, be one who leads by example and has a lot of humility, being very understanding of their challenges.
What kind of impact would you like to make through your foundation?
My mission is to live an impactful and purpose driven life that motivates change and is inspirational. I believe the way you make people feel is your reputation and legacy. I want to inspire a culture of spreading kindness through giving and empowerment – Prof. Mohale at our last annual charity high tea said that “We should not only seek to be human-beings in this world but to be kind humans” and I actively echo that.
What has been the highlight since you started the foundation?
My personal highlight as the co-founder of the foundation is our Annual Charity High Tea that is held during women’ s month. You are also the owner of a home fragrance business - how is that doing? I’m always amazed by the support I receive as a young and unknown brand, especially when there are so many options in the market. But the highlight that really warms my heart is when I walk into someone’s house and smell my brand in their homes. LAMBENT by Makentse has really shone the light and has spread a cheerful scent. I really wanted a product that had an impact and is soulful, and judging by the feedback we receive, we are achieving that goal , especially with our gifting range.
What advice do you have for fellow aspiring young women who want to start a business?
Don’t be afraid to start. Start where you are and with what you have. When days are tough, don’t be despondent and don’t let it show, your consumers or clients will feel it. When days are good, save for the not so good times. Progress over perfection, always.