Thembi Bheka founded a digital marketing agency without a business… – Women of Influence

By Sarah Kelsey

Thembi Bheka is on a mission to empower one million women by 2025.

“Our studies have shown that if you empower a woman, she in turn empowers those around her,” says Thembi. “And the best way to eradicate and reduce poverty isn’t just to educate, it’s to empower. With hard work, we will achieve this goal.

The “we” Thembi refers to is the team she built as the founder of On-demand digital marketing (DMOD)a unique organization that seeks to connect talent in developing countries with global work opportunities, especially in the field of digital marketing.

A service provider can contact DMOD for help with a number of needs, including creating high-converting landing pages for managing website updates. A business needs assessment is performed upfront by DMOD, and the specific task is then assigned to a team member with the right skills to deliver the project on time and within budget. All of this is done virtually by someone in the developing world, primarily Africa.

To date, more than 4,200 services have been completed by members of the company’s team.

“These women didn’t have the confidence to look for a job or apply for a job, even after extensive training, so I thought, “I will connect them with opportunities.”

The idea for DMOD came to Thembi after immigrating to Canada as a refugee. Originally from Zimbabwe, she fled an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship to eventually settle in Montreal with her daughter. Although she studied and worked as a registered nurse, she continually felt the pull of entrepreneurial opportunities. She dipped her toes into the world of entrepreneurship as a real estate investor and even founded a course, Real Estate Real Riches, which taught women how to invest in housing. As her real estate business grew, she found herself in need of assistant-level help, and instead of hiring in person, she turned to a virtual assistant ( VA) in Kenya for help.

“At the time, nobody knew what a VA was or what they did,” she says. “I found mine on Upwork and eventually returned to Zimbabwe, realizing there was an opportunity to train people to become VAs. I started meeting amazing women – lawyers, doctors – who were all unemployed and in abusive relationships, a situation similar to my situation before I left for Canada.

She adds, “These women didn’t have the confidence to look for a job or apply for a job, even after extensive training, so I thought, “I will connect them with opportunities.”

This is how DMOD was born. Today, Thembi and his team have been recognized for the work they do by a number of leading organizations including Stanford Seed Transformation Program. Thembi was also selected as Coralus (formerly SheEO) Venture in 2021, giving her access to the financial support and coaching needed to grow her business.

“I have a podcast where I interview women entrepreneurs, and one of my speakers asked me if I had heard of SheEO and convinced me to apply,” says Thembi. “Until now, I had started my business. I had even started to sell my real estate assets to accelerate the growth of DMOD. Being selected as a SheEO business not only gave me the funding I needed to grow my business, but it also connected me to a community.

This community, she says, is something she regularly relies on for support when facing challenges in her business, joking, “your friends don’t want to hear about this employee issue. you have, but like-minded leaders do.”

“When you do what inspires you, you can empower people. It can help them improve and overcome whatever situation they face.

Funding was also valuable because, as an immigrant, Thembi says she struggled to access funding through traditional means.

“When you’ve been in Canada for a long time, you’ve learned the system, like what a credit score is or even how to register a business. Most people don’t live in cultures where business is done like in Canada or North America. Education is the key.

She says that until she joined SheEO, she didn’t even know she had to pay herself a salary. “There needs to be more and more educational supports to help immigrants and refugees learn certain systems so they can be successful.

This is also one of her enduring messages for women who want to embark on the life of an entrepreneur: educate yourself.

“I had no business experience, no one taught me how to be a businessman. I had to learn as I grew up. I struggled with management and leadership. I’m not a born leader, but I now coach people,” she says. “Just do it. Don’t wait. There’s so much I’ve been waiting for. I look back and think I was able to do things. Whatever you want to do, do it. “

Above all, do something that inspires you.

“When you do what inspires you, you can empower people. It can help them improve and overcome whatever situation they face.