This Women’s Month, CiTi, together with the UK-South Africa Tech Hub celebrates a female entrepreneur making a difference in her community.
Busiswa Lutshaba, a dynamic and passionate entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Blu Space Communications SA, a public relations boutique based in Khayelitsha. Busiswa is host to an intern as part of the UK-South Africa Tech Hub Developer Placement Programme.
“Our role is to connect our audience, mainly made out of small businesses to their larger markets using diverse communication channels and ensuring the full use of technology to communicate their brands effectively to their different market segments,” explains Busiswa, who is affectionately known as Miss Blu.
Born and raised in Khayelitsha, Busiswa founded her business in 2015 after she was retrenched from the corporate world.
“I had over 11 years of customer services experience, working for both local and international contact centres. Upon identifying a need through the arts and entertainment, I took a leap of faith and we had our first event in Khayelitsha in September 2015.”
She adds that she spotted an opportunity in her community she just couldn’t ignore. “I’m from Khayelitsha, one of the third biggest townships in South Africa and we have emerging talent in most areas. I saw an opportunity to host events in the township honouring township creatives and artists within their own communities. During that time, to host experiences one would have to travel to more suburban areas to enjoy a live music event or book launch. And I found that the very same artists who were the hosts were not celebrated and advocated within their own communities. The name ‘Blu Space’ was a space for emerging talents, the creative arts and to create a space for inclusivity.”
The female founder admits that while she hasn’t always been interested in business, she’s always known she had “a strong sense of carrying communication”. “Progressive townships and community brands have always been appealing. My passion stemmed from understanding township dynamics and bridging the gap between small businesses and the corporate. The idea of starting the business and making it formally was an idea from my retrenchment.”
Since starting her business, Busiswa has enjoyed many highlights along the journey. “We were honoured by AfricaCom in 2019 as a Startup in Communication. Other small achievements have come afterwards, like our media relations with diverse media platforms. And having our first intern this year with CiTi is another highlight. We had a short while with the intern, Dalumzi before the lockdown restrictions. But technology has saved us immensely. We use online platforms and also have team briefings on occasion and attend virtual events with Dalumzi. Having to accommodate all our schedules combined as a team have created a conducive working environment.”
Busiswa adds that she has experienced her fair share of challenges since she started her business. “We are in the education aspect of business, having to constantly educate our audience on our role which can be misunderstood. Also having to start a business from scratch with no support has been a great challenge to date. We also had experienced challenges from COVID-19. We have had to pause our events but have since integrated online. We are in the people business, people buy into us. And cutting physical contact has created uncertainty with our clients. But we have and are putting online measures into place to ensure that we are still available on the other side.”
Despite the obstacles the business has faced over the years, Busiswa has high hopes for the future of her company.
“Our vision is to own our first office site in Khayelitsha. Creating access to entrepreneurs and being a community hub that links information carried out by Government, Stakeholders and the corporate. Helping businesses thrive economically and enhancing brand value. To be a launchpad of ideas that contribute towards the economy.”