Thuli Hlongwane, Founding Director at Prim-U talks on seeing new opportunities for creating jobs

Written by Staff Writer

Feb 1, 2021

Prim-U is an on-demand booking platform that connects businesses in the beauty & wellness industry with customers anytime, anywhere, to sell and distribute products and offer professional services. Founding Director, Thuli Hlongwane, began her career working as a Programmer. With an impressive background in IT, Thuli brokeinto the entrepreneurial domain over the past few years, and has even launched two apps, namely PRIM-U and Primlancer, which are geared towards connecting people to the beauty industry.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE KEY CHALLENGE FOR TRANSFORMATION IN YOUR SECTOR?

Entrepreneurs like therapists, hairstylists and nail technicians, do not have the flexibility to manage their schedules, pricing models, and some do not have available space to work from. Salons/spas need to learn how to maximise profits, and corporates need to support SMEs and encourage employee wellness. End-customers are also looking for a platform that offers flexible, convenient treatment bookings.

HOW DO YOU RETAIN PERSONNEL IN YOUR COMPANY AND STOP KEY STAFF JUMPING SHIP?

The platform is providing opportunities for SMEs to run their small businesses with support from the Prim-U platform. This is by doing the marketing on their behalf, collecting payments upfront using a reliable payment gateway and giving them the flexibility to decide on services, prices and schedules.

WHAT ARE THE SKILLS YOU LOOK FOR IN STAFF, AND ARE THESE NEEDS BEING FULFILLED?

I look for professionals who are passionate therapists, hair stylists, or nail technicians. There is a large market for these skills.

WHAT ARE YOUR COMPANY’S KEY TRANSFORMATION MILESTONES?

We developed a technology platform that optimises booking capacity, usage, and minimises under-utilised space for professionals, thereby accelerating convenience for consumers.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK THE NEW GENERATION OF BLACK LEADERS ARE GOING TO NEED?

This new generation of leaders will most definitely need entrepreneurship skills in Business Management and Financial Management. This is why we provide training and technology in management and reporting.

IS THE DRIVE FOR SUSTAINABILITY CHANGING THE WAY YOU DO BUSINESS? HOW?

Yes. More and more people are seeing opportunities for creating jobs and operating as entrepreneurs.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGES YOU HAVE HAD TO FACE IN YOUR TRANSFORMATION AGENDA?

  1. Providing support and training for the entrepreneurial skills
  2. Funding for equipment

IF YOU HAD TO START YOUR WORKING LIFE OVER AGAIN, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF IN HINDSIGHT? 

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO EXPAND / IMPROVE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

Building strong partnerships with corporates to support SMEs.

WHERE WILL YOU BE IN 10 YEARS TIME?

Our objective is that in the next 5 years we will consistently implement Prim-U in the Southern African market, other emerging markets and West African countries. This would translate to profits of $4mil by 2025. Prim-U is ready to take on this market after our successful MVP launch – 300+ registered, even during the pandemic.

DESCRIBE THE BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY THE COMPANY PRIDES ITSELF ON.

Reinventing beauty on-demand – anytime, anywhere.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE TRANSFORMATION IS SIGNIFICANT IN SA?

 People in Africa need jobs and companies need healthy employees and customers. It’s a perfect match. We know that now, more than ever, corporate social impact can be instrumental in community success.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED:

‘I never lose; I either win or I learn.’

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY?

Remember that the expert at anything was once a beginner.

DO YOU HAVE ANY GOOD BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE INSPIRATION?

Yes. Good to Great by Jim Collins

 

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