February 2017: Mamapo Chemicals owner, Ezekiel Madigoe, will be
awarded a certificate next month after successfully completing the Eskom
Contractor Academy course. Madigoe learned about the academy when his company
competed and won the overall prize in the Eskom Development Foundation Business
Investment Competition in 2015.
“Being a believer
in continuous learning and self-improvement, when I heard about the academy,
enrolling for it was an obvious next step for me,” says Madigoe. His company,
based in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, was established in 2012. They manufacturer and
distribute a range of industrial and household chemicals such as degreasers,
laundry and dish-washing liquids. They also recently started manufacturing
animal feed and fertilisers and providing waste management services.
Academy is the Eskom Development Foundation’s programme to equip small business
owners and emerging entrepreneurs with the necessary skills required to build
sustainable businesses. It is offered to contractors and suppliers wishing to
improve their skills in project and financial management, entrepreneurship,
legislation and technical acumen.
Madigoe says he
and his 34 employees have been struggling to secure long-term and major
contracts and his participation in the academy will go a long way towards
helping them change that. He was inspired by the success stories of some of the
academy’s previous students.
“The academy has
made a huge impact in many entrepreneurs’ lives, including mine, and I’m
already seeing its benefits. It is probably the best training I have ever
received as an entrepreneur. The skills I’ve gained will help me better manage
my business by putting good systems in place. I particularly learned a lot in
the project, safety, health and financial management and employee wellness
modules,” enthuses Madigoe.
The course, which
combines both theoretical and practical work, is covered over eight months and
students attend lectures for a week every month. Eskom believes that by
empowering small businesses and helping them to become profitable, the country
can start addressing its socio-economic challenges and start seeing a
Foundation acting CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi, says the organisation is committed to
stimulating economic growth by promoting entrepreneurship among South Africans,
especially the youth, so that they can to create jobs. “With our high
unemployment rate and start-ups that fail within three years of existence,
initiatives such as the Contractor Academy become major catalysts of meaningful
change,” affirms Ramonotsi.