Meisie Nkosi, a mother, and grandmother, is the owner of the 100% black-woman-owned Bella Bonni Guest House in Witbank, Mpumalanga.

Nkosi won the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award at last year’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Bella Bonni Guest House is a beautiful home from home for discerning private and corporate guests who enjoy elegance, professionalism and warmth.

The mother of two boys first noticed a gap in the market when friends struggled to find places to stay or throw parties in the Witbank area.

“I saw a problem and, as an entrepreneur, I wanted to solve the problem,” she said.

The former teacher decided to trade in her red pen and venture into the hospitality industry in 2006.

The guest house boasts en-suite rooms, self-catering rooms and executive self-catering suites that have the sophisticated and contemporary African look and feel associated with a boutique hotel.

The accommodation was given a four-star grading by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, but there are also three-star rooms to cater for everyone’s budget.

Nkosi compared her business to having a child. “You don’t give up on it, it needs attention, care and love.”

She said starting her own business had its challenges, but from a young age she was selling and had informal businesses. “You face all sorts of challenges, but it grows your personality. Working for somebody you end up growing their business, not your own,” she said.

The bubbly entrepreneur said she did everything “out of love” and was passionate about educating and training her staff.

 “The highlight of owning my own business is teaching others about the industry. It elevates me and I grow with them. I was a former teacher, but I still teach now and it satisfies me to see I’m making a difference,” she said.

This article is part of a series where Tourism Update highlights small, medium- and micro-sized enterprises in the tourism sector. This series is brought to you courtesy of South African Tourism