All4Women Entrepreneurs is a monthly feature where we put the spotlight on amazing female entrepreneurs starting businesses in South Africa. This month we spoke to Clinimed founder, Dr Mathobela Matjekane, to find out how she did it.

Dr Matjekane founded Clinimed, a chain of private clinics, to provide quality healthcare at affordable prices to low-income communities in Cape Town.

  • Entrepreneur: Dr Mathobela Matjekane
  • Company name: Clinimed
  • Industry: Medical
  •  Year started: 2009
  • Website: clinimed.co.za

With the help of other medical professionals, Dr Matjekane runs three primary healthcare practices that offer dentistry, optometry, wellness and aesthetic care to patients.

The Clinimed practices are strategically located in Khayelitsha, Mandalay and Parklands, close to the communities Dr Matjekane aims to serve.

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The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Dr Matjekane seems to have been destined for entrepreneurship. Both her parents left employment to start and run their own businesses; her mother successfully ran her own fabric manufacturing factory while her father owned a community supermarket. Watching how they managed their careers influenced her entrepreneurial journey.

“My parents both played a very active role in my upbringing. They found ways to involve us, even as children, in their business. We knew how things worked and were a part of the everyday running of their business, “says Dr Matjekane.

See a need, fill a need

Although an entrepreneurial instinct may seem at odds with a Hippocratic calling, Dr Matjekane says her experience in the public healthcare system propelled her into building a solution that allowed her to grow in her profession and also help more people more effectively.

“I worked in public health as a community doctor for a few years and witnessed the quality of service that poor people who couldn’t afford private care were subjected to. Clinimed is my answer to that, and though it functions as a business, the dignity of patients is a priority. I strive to make sure all the people I work with understand this and that we work together to provide communities with quality medical care and treat them with respect while we care for their health,” says Dr Matjekane.

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The practical business of starting a business

Growing her business as a collaborative effort with other primary health care providers, Dr Matjekane says focusing on the needs of the community made choosing medical professionals to build her business with easier.

Although the drive to start Clinimed was to provide affordable and dignified medical care to communities, Dr Matjekane realised that to keep her clinics running she has to remain business minded.

When founding Clinimed, she drew up a business plan with clear objectives to get funding and applied for funding from a bank. Like any other business, she had to present a clear and viable plan to access the funds she needed.

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Ubuntu as a business practice

Finding the balance between running a business and expressing empathy may be difficult for the average person but for Dr Matjekane, ubuntu is an essential business principle.

“Being a businesswoman and a doctor can work hand in hand. You can take care of the community and still make money because people will always go where they are treated well. There are times where I have to exercise ubuntu over business sense and offer care for patients who need medical attention but cannot afford it. I take it on a case by case basis, and knowing that I genuinely care about the community seems to draw more patients to my clinics,” she says.