Over the years, the Top Tech Tools for Women in Business programme, presented by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) in partnership with the City of Cape Town, has equipped female entrepreneurs with the skills and tools to grow their business in the digital economy.
We spoke to alumni, entrepreneur Monique Pasqualle about her business HR Cartel, her passions, and her experience in the Women in Business programme.
“We are a 100% black-owned female business, established to provide bespoke, specialist HR and Business Management services to startups, entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, non-
government organisations and the educational sector. We ensure your business remains compliant and that your policies, procedures, and methods are in line with South African legislation and Gazettes,” explains Monique, who founded HR Cartel.
“Our focus is to ensure that these sectors have an HR in place that can assist them in making sound, valuable and compliant decisions, to ensure business prosperity and growth.”
The entrepreneur shares that she’s had a passion for business for as long as she can remember.
“The need and drive to help others and assist with growth have always been a fire burning deep within me. ”
It was this drive that helped her conceived the idea for HR Cartel way back in 2015, and she actively registered and dedicated her full energy to implementing and running the business full-time in February 2019.
At the time, she saw a big need for HR and business service requirements to be fulfilled with new startups and entrepreneurs as well as the SME, NGO and ECD sectors.
“I would often get numerous requests to do projects and assist in setting up companies HR systems outside of my normal 9-5 corporate job. Starting my own business thus meant that I could finally do what I was passionate about: teaching, building, educating and helping people within the people field (HR) as well as in their businesses. This adventure also allowed me to create a more structured work-life balance for myself as well as fulfil my own goals, dreams and aspirations along the way.”
Since her business journey started, she has enjoyed many highlights.
“One of our highlights so far was being featured by Brand Alchemy RSA in her blog series: Women Support Women, which showcases the stories of female entrepreneurs in order to inspire and empower other women to turn their ideas into successful businesses.
“We were also approached by 3 institutes within the educational sector to implement a programme (Academy) for upcoming youth at their institutions, whereby we assist matriculants as well as tertiary institutes by coaching young leaders in our job readiness programme as well as an incubation for the entrepreneurial journey. More on this to follow – watch this space.”
The passionate entrepreneur has used her experience in the Women in Business programme to tweak her business to be more lean and agile during these unprecedented times.
“By utilising the tech tools which I already had in place and by learning of new models that would benefit my business, I have managed to implement a more efficient, cost-effective way of running my business.
“I was also able to network and meet other like-minded individuals and businesswomen who not only face the same challenges as me but also in meeting them, I was able to build on these relationships whereby I could assist, gain and grow in the process.
“The WIB programme is an extremely well-thought-out programme aimed at assisting women with valuable tech tools, knowledge and networking opportunities, that will not only give you a better insight into your business but will also assist you in better understanding how to operate and manage your business to be a sustainable entity for many years ahead. It is an excellent initiative that will assist you to future-proof your business for the new digital economy.”
Although the entrepreneur has faced some challenges along the way, it remains a fruitful journey.
“One I do not regret. We are living in an era of constant change for the foreseeable future: change is the new normal. Preparing for and embracing that change by investing in the right kind of advice is the best way to meet these challenges head-on. There will always be a challenge you will need to face in some area of your business, at some point. It’s how you deal with those challenges that make all the differences in whether your business will make it or break it.”
And like many businesses around the world, HR Cartel has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 could not have come at the worst point for us, as we had just managed to emerge from scale-up to hit growth. Many of our clients were faced with company closures, retrenchments, income cuts, while others are currently still seeking relief to remain operational. Many will not recover. As a result, this has led to us making little to no income for our business for the last 100 odd days. This is quite a knock for my business as we need to dip into savings and personal finance in order to cover overheads and income. This is not a feasible solution as it does get to a point where there is no alternative but to do the latter. Right now, we are facing this pandemic head-on and doing the best we can with what we can for as long as we can. Our people are our biggest asset, and we will continue to strive in assisting our clients to remain operational and sustainable.”
If you are a female founder/CEO and would like to participate in the Women in Business Programme for 2020, apply now.