After being exploited by a builder due to a lack of knowledge, Molefe Sechoaro decided to start a business to educate consumers on what they need to know when buying property.
His company Setsmol Enterprise provides innovative, tailor-made training programmes to educate consumers on buying property.
“I was unfortunately the victim of exploitation – where a builder misled me and built a house without my approval,” explains Molefe. “I didn’t query the situation due to my lack of housing knowledge and the excitement of seeing my house completed overshadowed my rights. Realising this, I questioned how many people had experienced similar challenges due to a lack of homeownership education.”
He adds that our historical background has led to our current situation where many people have no knowledge of their rights, contractual obligations, responsibilities and accountabilities attached to sustainable home ownership.
In 2002, Molefe established Setsmol Enterprise in a backyard room at his parent’s house in Mapetla, Soweto, while attending business courses with Service Seta. His aim was to educate people about sustainable homeownership, land reform and eradication of informal settlements, but he was faced with a lack of capital and business knowledge.
“I overcame these challenges by engaging in continuous learning of the industry, networking with stakeholders and identifying what contribution I could make to promote education among ordinary South Africans,” says Molefe.
A winning formula
To date, approximately 1 million people have completed training programmes – which cover everything from financial literacy for first-time homeowners, to education on bank loans and credit information. Setsmol Enterprise was recently recognised at the NSBC Small Business Awards as one of the Top 20 Business Entrepreneurs for 2016.
“Aside from the accolades, I’m proud of securing our first account with a corporate company and running a debt free company,” says Molefe. “I’m also pleased that we are contributing towards addressing the national housing and financial crises our country is faced with.”
Setsmol Enterprise recently launched a new campaign titled the Credit Literacy Initiative, which aims to help individuals and families that have had their credit applications declined. The campaign incorporates practical credit education and targeted resources, resulting in the ability to get their credit application approved to qualify for a home loan or vehicle financing.
“Participants learn from experts on how credit scores are derived and they learn how to devise specific strategies to improve their disposable income and improve their credit profile through the addition of positive credit and the removal of negative entries on their credit reports. Through education, we are definitely addressing the root causes of indebtedness,” says Molefe.
What advice does Molefe have for those looking to buy property? “Know and practice your rights, contractual obligations, responsibilities and accountabilities attached to homeownership. The latter will sustain your ownership!”