Thriving in a male-dominated industry is a challenge that Refentse Masha is eager to take on. She decided in 2016 that being in business is exactly her forte after qualifying as an accountant by training and profession.
Today, Refentse is the CEO of Axcelerate, a boutique accounting services consulting firm she co-founded in 2017 with her business partner, Tshepiso Sekudu. This year marks the firm’s fifth anniversary, and Refentse admits that the road to this remarkable achievement has not been easy, “but we strive each day to make it a business of choice”.
Passion for empowering others
Refentse’s passion for numbers and serving others propelled her to realise her dream of becoming a successful businesswoman.
“I am a firm believer in carving your own path and destiny,” she says.
Refentse is headstrong. She has managed to rise against all odds to establish herself as a successful entrepreneur, while lifting others in the process. This, she says, has only been possible with the help of her remarkable team. “I want to see those around me grow and achieve their full potential.”
She says her desire to help others inspired her to start her own business, a journey that has not been without growing pains. However, she believes that the fact that she is in it for the long haul is what has kept her motivated to rise above it all.
“As a woman, people expect you to fail because the industry is more sceptical of women leaders. I would say, women are just as capable as men of building empires, but that cannot happen overnight; just like Rome was not built in one day.”
In the business of empowering women
Axcelerate is a 100% black-owned business with 90% female employees. Refentse believes that it is critical for a company to be founded on its values; for Axcelerate, those values are diversity and inclusion.
“We are in the business of empowering women, as we believe that when you empower a woman, you empower her community.”
Through Sage initiatives and training, Axcelerate has managed to equip mostly female trainees with accounting and bookkeeping skills.
“We believe that learning such skills can assist and enable them to start their own businesses. As a small company, our responsibility lies in the impact we make in the community we do business in.”
“On this International Women’s Month, I would like to encourage all women to remain determined and persistent in changing their world, and to young girls: do not be afraid to take on the world, even if you are alone.”