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Sorbet-Prenuer competition comes full circle with first store opening

Women's Month started on a good note for Johannesburg female entrepreneur, Sharon Dikgale, the first of four Sorbet- Preneur winners as she was handed the keys to her own Sorbet franchise, located at the L’Corro Shopping Centre in Northcliff, Johannesburg.

Presented this year’s theme of “Accelerating Socio-Economic Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment”, Women’s Month 2023 could not have had a better start for Johannesburg Sorbet-Preneur winner, Sharon Dikgale, as she was handed keys to her own Sorbet franchise.
The handover, which comes just months after the crowning of the first four winners in March, is the result of two years of hard work and dedication by both Sorbet and Bidvest Bank working hard to ensure that the new entrepreneurs are  successfully incubated as franchise partners. 

The initiative is designed to give aspiring entrepreneurs aspiring to become Sorbet franchise owners but are not in a position to raise the funding to own their own Sorbet Salon franchise. As a new franchise owner of a Sorbet Salon, Dikgale received 50% of the investment required to set up her business, in the form of a grant from Bidvest Bank.

Sorbet waived the initial franchise fee, resulting in her injecting this portion of the funding to setting up and equipping the salon. Bidvest Bank also provided a business loan to cover the balance of the funding needed, which catered for initial operating costs.

From therapist to becoming a Sorbet-Preneur franchise owner

Dikgale’s story of being a Sorbet franchise owner started off with her letting go of a medical dream, to pursue a non-traditional aesthetic option and have faith it. After she matriculated, she aimed to go into a more traditional career like medicine or bio-medical technology.
“It was by pure luck that I happened to be accompanying a friend of mine when she was also going to register at a tertiary institution in Florida. I noticed a beauty school very close and it piqued my interest. After consulting with my parents, I enrolled and subsequently graduated as a Somatologist, after three years of studying,” she said.

As a new franchise owner of a Sorbet Salon, Sharon Dikgale received 50% of the investment required to set up her business!
The new Sorbet salon is located at the L’Corro Shopping Centre in Northcliff, Johannesburg.

That was a challenging time in her journey as there were very few black female somatologists in South Africa. In order to improve her craft, she provided complimentary beauty and grooming services such as waxing, facials, Indian head massages, pedicures and manicures to her friends and family, often receiving constructive criticism.
She used these formative years in order to hone her skills to such a point that she was employed as a therapist at the very same L’Corro Sorbet Salon she now owns, 18 years later.
“Having also worked at other Sorbet salons in Hyde Park and Bryanston, I learnt about the different clientele in various regions. But one of my biggest lessons is that I changed how I viewed the beauty industry. I learnt that the purpose of what I do is to serve and improve the lives of our guests, and that was a huge paradigm shift for me. That filled me with such satisfaction and inner drive which I have kept ever since,” says Sharon, wife and mother of two. 

As the winner of Sorbet-Preneur, Sharon Dikgale has shown grace, dignity, business acumen, tenacity, grit and the drive needed to succeed in the beauty business.

As a Sorbet-Preneur, one of Dikgale’s goals is to change the perception of Somatology as a career. “I want to elevate my chosen career and highlight just how specialised it really is. I had to study the very same anatomy that medical students undergo for their first three years. This is so that we know how to handle every part of our guests’ bodies without inflicting any pain or damage. For example, we have to understand the structure of the skin in order to know how certain ingredients will make it react,” she says.
Speaking exclusively to NOWinSA, Linda Sinclair, CEO of the Sorbet Group had this to say: “This is truly about empowerment and entrepreneurship for women in South Africa. Sharon has been incredible in her entrepreneurial journey. She has shown grace, dignity, business acumen, tenacity, grit and the drive needed to succeed in this business. We are incredibly proud to gift her this opportunity to now become a Sorbet franchise partner. She’s so deserving of this opportunity.”

She added: “Her passion, commitment, and leadership ability will serve her well in becoming a successful Sorbet franchise partner. She is an inspiration to all citizens. Her Sorbet family wishes her the best of luck on this amazing journey!”

Hannah Sadiki, Bidvest Bank CEO, added: “Entrepreneurial drive and ambition are essential to building a prosperous future in South Africa, and it is very important that finance providers are able to respond to this need. At Bidvest Bank, we know that access to finance is a key driver in the creation, survival and growth of innovative new ventures. We are very encouraged by the response and the quality of the finalists who took part in this initiative. Words cannot express how proud I was to stand next to Sharon Dikgale when she received the keys to her new salon, bringing her career full circle. We wish her the very best and hope she continues to flourish on her entrepreneurial journey.”

Thanks to the business acumen training, including lessons on franchising and accounting, Sorbet-Preneur Sharon Dikgale grew from first being a therapist to now being a franchise owner.

With the personal services industry contributing more than R9,1 billion to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product on an annual basis, it is promising to know that women like Dikgale are being empowered to reap some of the benefits.
“It feels amazing that out of the 85 Sorbet citizens who applied for the Sorbet-Preneur initiative that I was shortlisted as one of the final 14. Now, to know that I am one of four who own a Sorbet salon is very exciting – it is a dream come true! Thanks to the business acumen training, including lessons on franchising, accounting, human resources, marketing, leadership and a whole lot more, I have grown so much from first being a therapist to now being a franchise owner.”

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Editor's Desk
Curated by editor-in-chief, Tankiso Komane, this special collection of articles from the Editor's Desk unpacks topics of the day, including commentary, in-depth analysis and partner content.
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