Ellah’s story is truly a inspiring one. At 58, she is the director of her own construction company: QEDA. At 17 Ellah suffered a tragic spinal injury that left her wheelchair-bound. Determined to rise above her disability, she obtained a Diploma in a Business Administration and founded QEDA in 2006. Since then, she has been involved n several construction projects within her community.
Through GO!Durban project QEDA was awarded a small storm water sub-contract. Impressed by her commitment and tenacity Phayindani Joint Venture, the main contractor on a section of the C3, provided Ellah with further mentorship. Soon after, management decided to include her in a formal programme. This afforded Ellah the opportunity to win another sub-contract. This time for a portion of the sidewalks. QEDA has since grown from strength to strength, with the continued support of the Joint Venture management team.
When asked about the challenges she faces, Ellah spoke of the judgement she faced from her male counterparts. Far from discouraging her, their negativity fueled her determination.
“It was really tough for me but I was determined to grow my business. I felt supported and well mentored by the Joint Venture. My staff made me really proud, and we delivered! I am so pleased to have experienced this as it has given me an opportunity to develop my small business.”
Fortunately, after the success of her projects, she was able to buy a Bantam bakkie making her more mobile. When she began the contract QEDA’s industry grading was at level 1. Since then, QEDA has attained a level 3 grading, enabling her to take on bigger contracts.