Sarah-Jane Boden

Companies Name:
SoulProviders Collective

What does your company do?

SoulProviders is a creative agency specialising in digital content and marketing. Our young, on-point team crafts proud African stories on behalf of brands, connecting them to their customers and building loyal communities around their products/offering. From day one our business model has revolved around opening doors for some of the most exciting up-and-coming creative talent: writers, copy-writers, designers, illustrators, editors, photographers, videographers, strategists and marketers, disrupting an otherwise poorly-transformed industry. We are a place of learning and opportunity, ensuring that our team represent the broad diversity of South Africa in a meaningful way. This ensures that our work is always highly-considered and culture-lead, landing our creativity in an authentic and fresh way, while striving for creative excellence and exceptional marketing results.

What has been your biggest success?

Becoming a black-female co-owned, run and lead agency - one of the only of its size and turnover in our (male-dominated, global holding firm) SA industry; In 2016 I began putting our first phase of our empowerment plan in place, which evolved into a new ownership structure made up of a Black female industry partner and investor and a Black female Trust. We were able to empower staff internally into this ownership programme and I slowly withdrew from being the face of the business and the daily creative and operational leader and have handed over to the leadership team. Our first quarter has shown fantastic results and we look forward to more phenomenal results this year, sharing rewards with the team that make it happen. I am very grateful for our success and I believe in sharing what we have towards a more equitable society and getting this first phase right was a huge achievement.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Driving a business - and I imagine one's first business in particular, is where we learn many hard business and personal lessons. It's a great way to accelerate growth and evolve into smarter, more empathetic businesswomen who care about more than profits. As SoulProviders has evolved I have become a fervent believer in inclusive business models - however, the theory of enabling your team to run your baby and the practice of learning to let go are very different. Letting go has been one of my toughest yet most rewarding business journeys. While I believe that a sole founder must build a business to live without them at the core, the reality is, it's going to be tough to let go. But like any journey, it requires conviction, effort and focus – it’s a trial and error exercise. I highly recommend this lesson in humanity and shared value for sole founders.

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