Building capacity in the SMME sector

Business Skills for South Africa

Entrepreneurs fired up for success

Wachumlilo - the fire is burningWachumlilo means 'the fire is burning' in Zulu. It is an apt name for a joint venture started by a dynamic group of six young entrepreneurs to provide mining and civil construction services in the Cullinan area.

"The name speaks to our passion for working to ensure the success of our business," says Wachumlilo managing director Nicky Mphafudi. He and fellow entrepreneurs Kgaudi Mahlangu, Hector Thamaga, Shirley Moshidi and Bulelwa Myataza all attended an eight-month BSSA training course in business skills.

BSSA was contracted by Motswiri Consultants to offer the training to potential suppliers to the mines of Petra Diamonds in Cullinan, Kimberley, Finsch (Kuruman) and Koffiefontein. It included all aspects of business management, and special attention was given to pricing and costing, and tendering.

As part of the supplier development programme, Motswiri also assisted in the formation of joint ventures between some of the learners and existing suppliers to the mine.

The five BSSA learners and a friend, Maria Seshotle, formed a 100% black-owned company, MA Muller. In February this year, MA Muller and existing mine supplier MLM Bens joined forces to establish Wachumlilo. MA Muller is a 51% shareholder in the joint venture, with the remaining shares owned by MLM Bens.

With 21 employees and 18 years' experience in mining, transport and civil construction, MLM Bens has brought experience, a track record, capital, skills and quality assurance to Wachumlilo.

"We have already secured civil construction bids from Petra Diamonds worth R1.1 million," says Nicky. Wachumlilo is aiming to transfer skills to all members of the joint venture, which will assist it to look for opportunities beyond Petra Diamonds.

He adds that the skills he and his MA Muller partners learnt on the BSSA course will enable them to take Wachumlilo to new heights. Although he had a BCom degree under his belt, Nicky still found the training provided him with the latest, updated information.

"Kgaudi, Hector, Shirley and Bulelwa said the BSSA course provided a bridge they could cross to where they are now. They had been involved in small businesses before, but didn’t know the basics of drawing up a strategic plan and how to market a business, for example. They also didn’t realise entrepreneurs can do their own book-keeping!"

Nicky recommends training such as that offered by BSSA to all aspiring entrepreneurs. "If you only have enthusiasm, but you don’t have the right knowledge to run your business, you will unfortunately not get very far. You need the right fuel to keep your fire burning strong," he says.

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