Aseza Mphindwa-Mbaswana opened a bed-and-breakfast in 2020, which she immediately regretted because the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa’s shores. However, her love of business and adventurous spirit spurred her on to keep the B&B open and start new business ventures. Speaking to Vutivi News, Mphindwa-Mbaswana said that she started FlightInn B&B because of her love of travelling. And because she was a mother, she wanted to spend more time with her children.
The Eastern Cape-born native moved to Margate in 2019 to start her business. “I used to travel to different provinces and visit different lodges and ask the owners questions about how they operate and that gave me ammunition to launch my own venture,” she said. “I received financial support from my family, and it is thanks to them, that I was able to start the business.
“I also realised that there are not many young people in the area that operate B&Bs and I tapped into that space,” she said. Mphindwa-Mbaswana said that she has employed two permanent staff members and three casual staffers at the B&B. When she had to close her doors due to pandemic and ensure that her employees still had jobs, it was time for Mphindwa-Mbaswana to think out of the box.
“The tourism sector had to shut down, but we still had bills to pay and to maintain the business,” she said. “So, in order to survive, I started an ice-making business within the B&B, through which I manufacture and distribute ice,” Mphindwa-Mbaswana said her side hustle not only ensured the survival of her B&B, but it presented her with new opportunities. “I currently supply petrol stations, restaurants and shops in the area, and it has been doing very well since we started in 2020,” she said.
After witnessing how successful her ice business was doing, she ventured into the catering and events and linked it to her B&B. “I initially did not have a plan for the catering business. And I have no experience as a chef,” she said. “I realised, however, that during the lockdowns people were no longer cooking during funerals, and I decided to start providing packed meals for funerals.
“This evolved into a catering business. We now host conferences and events on the premises of the B&B as we have a dining hall suited for such events,” the business owner said. Mphindwa-Mbaswana told Vutivi News that looking back at the last two years, she considered herself blessed. “The biggest lesson that I learned in that period is to do something out of love because this will give you the strength to navigate through the tough times,” she said.