StartupsBusinesswoman grows skills in KZN tyre industry

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Owner of Supa Quick Hillcrest, Angie Frederic’s foray into entrepreneurship has been a long road that began in childhood.

“I am a Durban girl born and bred, the third of five children and we often battled financially,” she says. “I remember that even as a young girl my goal was to make a success of my future self, but as I grew up I came to realize that success is more than just your bank balance, but it’s a healthy, happy family and genuine supportive friends.”

Her journey started in 2005 when she was employed as the Second in Command at the Bridgestone KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Regional Office. The operation was made up of a sales office, warehouse and technical bay that supported the 45 Supa Quick stores in KZN, as well as Toyota’s Durban manufacturing plant.

With a background in accounting and sales, the position gave her an opportunity to grow her skills further by diversifying into a business management role with some technical knowledge elements.

“I found the industry very exciting and it intrigued me that an employee with 40 years’ of service was nothing out of the ordinary in this space,” she says. “After 11 years at the regional office I decided that I needed a new challenge and seeing that it had always been a goal of mine to be an entrepreneur, I felt that opening a Supa Quick store would allow me to achieve this lifelong goal.”

She went on a mission to find a suitable site for her Supa Quick as she knew that the location was a major part of the success of any store. She was lucky enough to secure a site in Hillcrest, Durban that was located along the main road.

The building came with a few challenges, one being that the ceiling was too low to jack up vehicles and the space upstairs needed a purpose so that it could be maximised.

Angie consulted with a number of experts until she came up with the solution to lower the floor to compensate for the low ceiling, which worked perfectly.

Her second challenge of finding some purpose for the extra space upstairs turned into a unique opportunity when she was also faced with the difficulty of finding staff with highly specialised skills for the new shop.

“To maximise this great space, I decided to start a training school for the tyre industry and the upstairs area was perfect for what I needed,” she says. “I am proud to say that my training school is now accredited by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA) and I am excited to teach the valuable skills that will contribute to creating jobs in South Africa.”

At first, Angie battled with confidence issues as she often felt she was not technical enough to be respected in the industry and being a woman in the male-dominated motor industry added onto this pressure.

However, three-years into running the business these feelings of doubt faded and she started to leverage her unique abilities, with the understanding that women and men bring different qualities to business, which complement each other.

She now serves on the Supa Quick Council, representing all the KZN Supa Quick stores and is the only female on the council, well-respected and valued by her fellow male council members. In order to deliver world class skills into the industry and her business, she has also become a qualified Assessor and now plans to complete her Moderator qualification in the near future.

“When I was just getting started, a very good friend who also owns a Supa Quick in KZN gave me some very good advice,” she says. “He told me not to worry about what everyone else is doing, just put your head down and make the shop the best it can be. I will never forget his advice and it has certainly helped me to make my shop a success.”

Angie is constantly challenging herself seeking self-improvement by learning new skills and reading empowering articles for her personal and business life. Her life motto “Never give up” and a strong relationship with Supa Quick has yielded great fruits that will endure long into the future.

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