from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
DURBAN – FROM a young age, Joelene Marimuthu has always been entrepreneurial and responsible. It is befitting that she has grown into one of the top businesswomen in KwaZulu-Natal.
She owns some successful restaurants in the up market areas Umhlanga and Davenport.
These are Black Bistro Lounge and Cocktail Kitchen as well as News Cafe Davenport.
“I grew up from very humble beginnings,” the mother-of-one said in an interview.
“I started working odd jobs every school holiday to help my parents put us through school. I started being independent at a very early age.”
After 18 years of working in the décor industry, she also runs a successful events company.
She told CAJ News Africa that the knowledge and experience she gained in the field has given her the passion for the hospitality industry.
“Dealing with different sectors in hospitality…you know every day is not the same. I love the challenges that come with it,” Marimuthu said.
“I love meeting new people and searching their experiences. I am passionate about my work. Because I love what I do, I have a steady source of motivation that drives me to do my best. In my last job, this passion led me to challenge myself daily and learn new skills that helped me to do better work.”
She explained why she chose the sector.
“Being in this industry for over 18 years, I have the patience and strong communication, problem-solving and customer service skills,” Marimuthu said.
“I also enjoy multitasking and working in an energetic environment and watching it all come to life gives me immense pleasure. The hospitality sector because I feel you can make a positive difference in people’s lives and experiences.”
Her businesses employ close to 300 staff, under various portfolios.
“I believe strongly in empowering women and I try my level best to push this forward in my businesses,” Marimuthu said.
“I thrive on challenges and constantly set goals for myself, so I have something to strive towards. I am not comfortable with settling, and I am always looking for an opportunity to do better and achieve greatness.”
She bemoaned the prevailing national challenges that have not spared the sector.
These include power cuts and a decline in disposable income.
“Load shedding is one of the major issues followed by the downgrade of the economy. The hospitality industry is basically a ‘luxury’ sector. You go out to restaurants and party only when you have that ‘extra’ cash,” Marimuthu concluded.
– CAJ News