This week’s video episode of Farmer’s Inside Track features Marcelle du Plessis, the co-founder of Lavender in Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats. The 31-year-old Cape Town agripreneur has dedicated the last ten years of her life empowering aspirant, female entrepreneurs in a gang-ridden area with the gift of lavender.
Through her initiative Du Plessis supplies aromatic lavender oil to women in the Lavender Hill community who make artisanal goods ranging from soaps, home-made biscuits and scented candles from the comfort of their own homes.
In her discussion with Food For Mzansi, Du Plessis touches on her business operations, personal struggles with mental illness and the light at the end of the tunnel – social entrepreneurship.
“Having something to work towards and having something where you’re helping other people, helps you get out of bed in the morning,” she says. “Even the process of just working on a business, you grow so much as a person every single day and that helped me overcome many personal struggles.”
Du Plessis advises youth looking to break into entrepreneurship to be willing to ask for assistance, but moreover be willing to accept assistance.
“Even though I had the book knowledge I had very little experience of how to actually run a business. My biggest challenges were really just not knowing what to do next. It was very important for me to go to groups and surround myself with people who knew better and just to learn as much as possible and implement that.”
Once she entered the world of social entrepreneurship Du Plessis says her outlook on life shifted. “My heart started changing once I started working with these people and I realized that you can do business while still doing well and helping other people.”
Since the project’s inception, Du Plessis adds that helping the women in Lavender Hill has added purpose to her life.
“The women would tell me amazing stories of how they could buy shoes for their children this month or how it just came at the right time where they needed to buy food so things like that really motivate you to carry on.”
She further advises youth in Mzansi to take the leap into entrepreneurship which she describes as “no man’s land”. She adds that the benefits in the ever-booming agricultural industry are infinite.
“Embracing opportunities in agriculture and in the environment is a very unique place to be in right now. At the moment we need young people to make a change. We need people to start being responsible and do things that are going to help our planet.”
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