Believe in yourself because no one else is going to. It starts with you.

Gaynor Francke started out with a tiny lodge in Saldhana Bay in 2008. Today she owns five tourism properties thanks to her single minded commitment and the extensive enterprise development support she has received.

Francke has a long list of wins, every one of them the result of hard work and dedication: TechnoServe Top 20 Business Plan Entrepreneur Competition in 2008; Best Female Entrepreneur 2011; Best Entrepreneur in the Tourism Category 2011; a Gold Award in the Future 100 competition 2011; Black Entrepreneur Award 2013 from West Coast Tourism; and the 2013 Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Francke currently represents other SMMEs as the Chairperson of the West Coast Business Development Centre.

Hoedjiesbaai Lodge, Francke’s first foray into the tourism market, has a warm, easy-going and relaxing atmosphere where customers are treated like royalty. It has come a long way from the time in 2010 when there was only R20-00 in the bank account. Today it can accommodate up to 42 guests from back-packers, self-catering to B&B options. From this single lodge, she used every opportunity offered to further her goals and acquire other properties, including the new, stylish Muizenberg Lodge, which caters for the growing pack packers market.

Francke joined Technoserve in 2010 as tourism was increasingly being viewed as a highly effective way to generate economic and social development in South Africa: “I thank my lucky stars for TechnoServe”, Gaynor says. They have really changed my life.The amount of advice, support and inspiration that I have received from them is truly phenomenal – one hundred fold what I received from any other organisation. My self-esteem has skyrocketed and I try harder and work harder in all aspects of my life; I want to put everything in it. There’s no feeling sorry for yourself when problems arise because TechnoServe encourages you to get out there and do what you are supposed to do.”

Francke’s latest property - ‘The White House’ – is being renovated to offer 15 en-suite bedrooms and a large conference facility. This complements the Industrial Development Zone in Saldanha recently opened by President Jacob Zuma. My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there is to believe in yourself because nobody else is going to. It starts with you. Even when it seems that the odds are stacked against you, do not hesitate, reach for the stars and just do it. I am very grateful that this partnership with TechnoServe came into my life; there is definitely no looking back for me”.

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