Low-Income Single Mother Becomes The Owner Of A Million-Dollar Construction Company In South Africa

Lasenta Lewis-Ellis’s personal journey is a great example of the idea that where a person begins does not have to dictate where he or she will finish in life. Cola Daily reported that Lewis-Ellis once lived in low-income housing as a struggling single parent. Things have changed for the better. She recently completed constructing a home at Swinton Pointe in Columbia, South Carolina.

Lewis-Ellis holds a degree in architecture engineering technology from Midlands Technical College, getting her start in the industry renovating offices in the University of South Carolina. Eventually she went back to school for a construction degree, working to get her contractor’s license and setting herself up to succeed as a Black woman in a male-dominated industry.

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In 2011, she created her own company, LLE Construction Group, specializing in general construction and facility maintenance. Lewis-Ellis said she noticed a white space in the industry and decided to apply her expertise to fill it.

“I noticed a gap. Other companies weren’t interested in smaller jobs and renovations. And when I first started my business, I didn’t have the capital to take on big jobs,” Lewis-Ellis told reporters.

Creating that niche for herself proved fruitful, with Lewis-Ellis growing her company in the last decade by the millions, reporting income of $1.1 to $1.4 million annually building and maintaining facilities. One of her biggest clients is the Richland School District One and she also works with small business owners, renovating their leased spaces.

“We can handle anything outside or inside. We bring in outside contractors to help with electricity, plumbing, HVAC, painting and paving,” she explained.

Recently, Lewis-Ellis obtained her real estate license, working with Coldwell Banker to focus on commercial properties, adding to the services she can provide for her current clients.

“I can help small businesses understand their lease options…and also help them with their renovations. Many times they assume the property owner will handle that, but they’re usually on their own,” Lewis-Ellis said.

Now the woman, who once lived in low-income housing and struggled as a single parent has just completed a major milestone, building affordable housing in the state. LLE Construction Group served as project manager for a small cul-de-sac of homes ranging from 1,200-1,400 square feet. Construction began last April with the homes selling by December for $128,000 to $163,000. Lewis-Ellis said the project “kept [her] going during COVID.”

Her advice for other people looking to pursue their dreams; master the basics, build a good team, and always give back.

“Always know your trade. You’ve got to know the pieces and parts. Knowledge is power, and applied knowledge is even more power… You have to build a good team. That’s one of my strengths. My team makes my business possible. My doors would be closed without them… Always give back to the community, nonprofits, schools. Share your experience. Let them see this is the face of someone who’s done it,” Lewis-Ellis said.


Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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