Rushana Hartnick

Companies Name:
Little Mermaids Swim School

What does your company do?

Little Mermaids Swim school offers developmentally sound swimming instruction in a safe, stimulating environment. Lessons are conducted all year round with water safety being the primary objective. The program ranges from moms and tots class, Todswim, stroke development and mini squad training. The latest addition to our list of services has been our Aqua Aerobics classes for the fitness conscious. We partner with non-profit organisations, social clubs and daycare centres within our communities to strengthen relationships and thus reaching a much broader market. With the aim of ensuring that swimming lessons are accessible and affordable, we started our crèche initiative. This is by far our most valuable service. This includes our safe and reliable transport service to and from our swim school. This has brought us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of making each child a swimmer before they reach Grade school.

What has been your biggest success?

Starting a swim school in Mitchell’s Plain area where swimming was never “cultural” was an absolute leap of faith. Then growing the swim school to having more than 3000 swimmers coming through our waters has and will always be our biggest success. Graduating from the University Of Stellenbosch Business School’s Small Business Academy in 2014 started my journey to lifelong learning to build and grow Little Mermaids. Being featured in Rooi Rose, Sarie and Destiny magazine in 2015 and appearing in shows such as Dagbreek and Kollig was a major inspiration to the youth of Mitchell’s Plain. In 2016 we received 2nd prize for the Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards in the Most Innovative Business category.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

We have fast outgrown our facility and cannot cater for the growing demand for swimming lessons. We are therefore in the process of purchasing land from the City of Cape Town to build a swim centre that will allow further partnerships with other local businesses. The current drought crisis in the Western Cape has brought trepidation as to the future of the business. However it then granted us new opportunities to explore water preservation initiatives and using the platform we have created to educate our swimmers, agents and parents on the role we play. We have been blessed to be teaching in an indoor heated pool that is within the current restrictions and are mastering the harvesting of rainwater and the use of grey water. At Little Mermaids challenges equal opportunity 

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