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Awonke Dyantyi: Born entrepreneur

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Founder of Dyantyi Accountants and CFO of SBWL online store. Awonke Dyantyi is a graduate of the Women in Business Programme, a programme run by Cape Innovation Technology Initiative partnered with the City of Cape Town. Dyantyi is also an alumnus of the first Academy of Women Entrepreneurs Programme; a US embassy program aimed at developing women-owned businesses in South Africa.

Driven by her thirst for serving entrepreneurs and her achievements; Awonke Dyantyi BAP (SA) was born in the Eastern Cape with little to no knowledge about career choices. She has always been an entrepreneur; evident from the age of nine when she and her sister played shop in her parent’s spare bedroom where they had no toys but used groceries and cutlery as inventory and coke pull up tabs as coins.

As a young girl, Awonke recalls always having good leadership qualities. “I remember being appointed as class captain and prefect in primary school, my teachers played a huge role in my life. They motivated me and encouraged me to dream it and live how I wanted” 

Eventually, when she became employed as an Accountant, Awonke started feeling that what she did was not enough. She mentioned how many people came to her seeking accounting help and advice which made her realise how much work still needed to be done. She started feeling discouraged that the work she did was not enough. At the time, I hadn’t discovered myself and my purpose of being a businesswoman and a problem solver. I jumped the bridge and started offering my services to them which lead to referrals.

Dyantyi Accountants was registered in 2018 when I started; I told myself I would never look back. Upon reflecting on her journey she mentions how beautiful her growth journey had started to fill with loads of lessons she took on.

Awonke is currently branching to Forensic auditing due to her realization that there is more to accounting than just being a CA and going the CTA route. This was brought and identified by clients who were in need of someone with good IT skills and an innovative flair. 

“My clients basically wanted someone who could predict the future, they were looking for someone who can leverage the latest technologies and mitigate risks at all costs.” She laughs with admiration.

The world is rapidly advancing and accounting is not about balancing books or owning a calculator anymore but about knowing how to set-up the cloud-based accounting systems and interpret the data to the clients. When asked of the challenges that she came across, Dyantyi said that one of her biggest challenges was finding her purpose and realizing that she needs to do more than just work. 

“You have to always list your goals and when you tick on your achievement you get the satisfaction and the motivation to continue. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, every step leading to the top requires a bigger, better and bolder you. I remember there was a time when I worked an 8-hour shift, train staff and still manage the online store on the back end. I am also responsible for bringing in new business partners – I usually have meetings too. It was not easy but it takes dedication, time management and a lot of hard work.”

Dyantyi said that being in the corporate world deprived her of real life, there was no real connection to people. She wanted to directly impact society and she wanted to be at the forefront of creating jobs in SA so when she came out reality hit her hard. This has helped her have a deeper appreciation of the role she plays in building the nation and that’s what she really wanted to be.

“I am thankful to my family for the support they gave me, from when I was starting my business”. It is important to be surrounded by people that can ground you and bring you peace. Mental health is everything. In a quest towards giving back to the accounting community, she has recently launched a development and support programme for young people who have an interest in accounting. She will be mentoring 50 aspiring accountants by helping them apply to university and offering virtual internship opportunities at Dyantyi Accountants. 

How has being with Saiba helped you?

Obtaining my BAP designation plus the licence to practise non-assurance engagements is one of the highlights of 2020; This has encouraged me to build confidence in my businesses and my clients have confidence in me. The newsletters that get sent are also very helpful, they help me make quick decisions that help me make more money. There are also many other benefits such as getting insurance and legal advice. Next on the list is the license to practice Immigration Law, I know obtaining this license will not be easy but it will be worth it.

Outside the business world, Dyantyi is a mother, loves cooking and spending time with family. She says that she has big plans for the future, that includes building an app, writing a book to narrate her story as a beacon of hope for women facing struggles in their lives and, most importantly: to be a voice for women in the shaping of our countries processes and the management of systems that caters to peoples daily livelihoods beyond business operations. 

My vision is to transform traditional financial models into digitised approaches that are friendly to the budgets and resources of startups; as startups have the potential to contribute and grow the economy of SA. 

When Dyantyi is not running her accounting firm she runs an online clothing store called SBWL .SBWL store is an online clothing store boasting high-quality clothing and other fashionable accessories since 2019. “We are exciting and innovative and offer customers the fashion they want. We are based in Cape Town and the most important thing is that our store is safe and clothing items are guaranteed.”

“A lot of people ask what SBWL means. The phrase ‘sbwl’ is a local slang term from the isiXhosa language, originating from the word “sabaweli” meaning crave, desire, yearn or want and is normally used for things that one cannot have.”