Celebrating Women’s Month. Women in the Pelagic industry.
The saying dynamite comes in small packages has certainly been proven true by this feisty entrepreneur. Tiny, yet talented. Ambitious and determined to continue her family fishing legacy. The wonderful Bianca Brophy is an inspiration to all, with special appeal to women determined to empower themselves through knowledge and application.
The year 1996 was a revolutionary year for the Lucas Family. It was the year that Basil Lucas, Founder of Combined Fishing Enterprises Limited (“CFE”), was legally entitled to register his own business. Basil has dreamed of this business since the age of 12 years old and eventually realized this dream.
Since its inception, CFE has pillared itself on its wealth of experience in general operations of business and particularly the fishing industry. The foundation and framework was set by the Skipper himself, but the business was expanded through the great efforts of his daughter, Bianca Brophy and her support team, including her mentor, the impressive Don Lucus.
Bianca holds an under-graduate degree in Commerce, having majored in Industrial Psychology, a post-graduate diploma in Education and a bookkeeping Diploma. However, these academic accolades weren’t enough for this learning enthusiast and she presently continues to study. Aside from her academic indulgences, Bianca proudly holds the title of having obtained Western Cape Province Colours (recognition) for her talents in the art of Ballet, which she part took in for most of her childhood through to her adolescence. Ballet dance wasn’t enough for her though, as she later went onto adding contemporary dancer to her list of talents. Bianca is also an avid trail runner, having ran several marathons; a “pretend” baker and colourfully skilled “chef”.
Bianca started her career as a “temp” within the family business. She then ventured into teaching, a completely unrelated field, yet one that always had her heart. Bianca then took her life in different direction when she decided to become a wife and mom, and simultaneously relocated to Pretoria. This is where she dabbled in an array of “side” projects as a means of business stimulation while actively growing in her new role as Mom. Bianca says that this where her entrepreneurial passion had truly ignited. In 2007, however, Bianca was requested to re-join the family business, as the business had been running at a loss at the time and was in dire need of a strategic plan to redemption. Bianca did what any great leader would do and that was to actively get involved and endeavour to revive her family business- their daily meal.
Fast forward 12 years later, through hard work, determination and a “go-getter” attitude, this gracious woman has earned the title of Director and is currently also a 10% stakeholder in CFE. In addition thereto, she is being groomed to take up position as CEO of the company and is ecstatic about carrying on the Lucas Family legacy. Bianca’s strong business strategies and convictions have led her down many fruitful roads within the fishing fraternity, including a seat on the board of several organizations, and being actively involved in the running of renowened organizations such as TunaSA. This go-getter is adamant to reach her personal and business goals and has been involved in some exciting business projects within the fishing industry. In addition to being a leading lady in the fishing fraternity, Bianca has invested herself in some other noteworthy business ventures and truly epitomizes a leading female entrepreneur.
Bianca’s road to success certainly hasn’t been a thorn-less path. She has had to muster through many professional challenges relating to inaccessibly and inequality. Personal challenges of loving, losing and learning. Her journey has been one filled with malicious attempts of discouragement, ugly truths, bad decisions and countless setbacks. But more importantly, her journey has also been filled with major comebacks, peace in her soul and a burning desire to constantly grow. Bianca refused to allow herself to succumb to her setbacks and victoriously defeated each challenge that came her way.
When you think of an entrepreneur, the general thought is about someone who is all about business. The reality is that a true entrepreneur is about change, creation and embodying the kind of leadership skills that goes beyond the surface of business. A true entrepreneur is all about implementing shifts that create good in the world. This is exactly what Bianca has been doing and maintains with the successful projects that she has been involved in. Bianca is currently working on the official pilot of her new exciting project called, “Fish Around”.
“I consider myself to be a teacher first, before that of a Director. So instead of telling my employees what to do, I prefer to be actively involved, and show them as best I can” – Bianca Brophy.
Bianca’s insatiable hunger for success, her tenacious spirit and inherent caring nature allowed her to identify a gap within the fishing industry which she was determined to bridge. Bianca spent several years researching her idea, gathering the relevant resources and eventually delved confidently into her new project.
The entrepreneur has been working on her idea for the past two years and it has finally manifested. The project is due to officially pilot by November 2019. This project will take the fishing industry to a new level, as it involves the digitization of trading bi-catch directly to the public. This project further aims at creating a structure to enable the facilitation of a CFE owned Processing Plant. Accordingly to Bianca, there are some fine tuning to be done before the launch, however, the objectives that the project aims to achieve will make it all worthwhile.
The core objectives of this project are, amongst others:
– To positively influence the job market within the fishing industry by creating jobs within the processing plant;
– To increase local trading accessibility through direct purchasing and trading;
– To provide franchising opportunities, especially aimed at women entering the fishing fraternity.
Safe to say, this fishing aficionado and passionate entrepreneur is no stranger to big goals. It is this same strain of daring, goal driven, ambitious, desire for greatness, that enabled Bianca to elevate the position of CFE within the fishing industry, and moreover, to turn the business into a profitable one.
Bianca’s motivation stems from her family and according to this flourishing entrepreneur, surrounding yourself with a firm support structure and maintaining a balanced life, are essential components of empowering yourself.
Bianca encourages young women to fully invest themselves in their passion. To persevere in-spite of the challenges encountered along the way. To ask questions and own their voices, even when conditioned to believe that it doesn’t truly belong to them. Bianca emphasizes the importance of a great mentor, and finally she reminds women not to forget to be good to themselves.
“Find a great mentor and ask as many questions a possible!” – Bianca Brophy