Jerusha Perumal, the owner and Store Retailer of FreshStop at Caltex Wetlands in Table View since December 2016, was named as one of the finalists of the ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ category at the 2018 Business Women’s Association (BWA) Regional Businesswoman of the Year Award, which recently took place.
Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, this 29-year old completed her BCom (Hons) studies in Industrial Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch and qualified as a Psychometrist after in 2011. She started her career in HR at The Foschini Group and worked her way up to Senior HR Consultant but her dream to run her own business persisted. “I met my business partner, Marinus de Kok, at university and after working on several projects we were determined to be in business together,” says Jerusha.
After considering various business opportunities, Jerusha and Marinus opted to enter the competitive fuel retail business. “Our business has grown significantly in the past year-and-a-half and changed my life in every possible way. No day is the same and I absolutely love getting to work with my best friend. No matter how tense a situation, the two of us are able to find the humour in it. Some days I really feel the weight of being responsible for 50 employees and their families, but it is an absolute blessing to have an impact and influence in our community”.
The BWA’s ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ category requires that candidates be a minimum 26% shareholder in their business, that they’ve been trading for less than five years and that they’re profitable; and to be nominated for the Regional Businesswoman of the Year Award, candidates must be role models in their community, be compliant with BBBEE codes of good practice and have a business in good standing.
Being a finalist of the Regional Businesswoman of the Year Award has given Jerusha an opportunity to stop and reflect. “The past 18 months has been a time of stretching myself and pushing to change and grow this business – my focus has been on finding my feet. This opportunity has opened my eyes to the privilege I have in my life and how I am able to influence and assist others to achieve their dreams. Even though we’re already involved in the community’s local schools and the local soccer team, it’s made me see an even bigger picture. I am humbled every time someone tells me I inspire them and seeing how proud my parents, family, friends and colleagues are has been overwhelming and motivating,” explains Jerusha.
When asked what advice she would give to other businesswomen, she says, “Your dream is not as far-fetched as you think. Yes, is it challenging but figure out what you want to do, and find out how to get it, you will find that it is more attainable than you think. I often hear people, say “one day…”, but if you do your research, you’ll discover that your “one day” is actually today.
“For those women considering a career in the fuel retail industry, I would say authentic leaders are self-aware, genuine and mission-driven. They lead with focus but also their heart. Don’t be afraid to lead with your heart in this male-dominated industry. We are powerful and add great value as women. We don’t need to be inauthentic or try to be men”.
FreshStop, named International Convenience Retailer of the Year 2013 and finalist of the 2017 & 2018 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award, is South Africa’s fastest growing 24-hour convenience store brand and has a network of 280 stores countrywide.
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Issued by: Byte Media on behalf of: FreshStop