Saturday, 4 July was graduation day for 14 entrepreneurs who successfully completed the COENG Business Skills Development Programme. The three-month course, presented by COENG in partnership with Anglo American Platinum, provided the entrepreneurs with training in valuable business basics like general management, finances, human resources, marketing, safety and quality management, and entrepreneurship. Held in Mokopane, Limpopo, the event was hosted under strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.
The graduating companies included Dorcas Paulos Projects, SNM Development Projects, Diphihlalo Trading, Dobra Cleaning & Maintenance, Mantisi Engineering & General Maintenance, Nareadi Industries, Monakwe Contractors, Komama, LAMSI Construction & Projects, Moleleko Trading Enterprise, Mmagojeso, Sinha Trading and Trading153CC Civil Construction, Prinico Pty Ltd.
COENG operations manager for mining and workshop presenter Louis Labuschagne welcomed attendees who included graduates and Anglo American Platinum management. In his address, Labuschagne said the day was all about celebrating the graduates and rewarding them for finishing their session on a high note. “We now have 50 companies that have gone through the course. The strategy has always been to try and host between 10 to 15 companies at a time. It takes three months and if we can do three programmes a year, we can assist at least 30 companies annually,” said Labuschagne. “We have experts presenting the various classes, the students are diligent in attending the classes and it must make a difference, it must change the way we do business and the way up-and-coming entrepreneurs manage their businesses so they become sustainable.”
Anglo American Platinum, Mogalakwena Mine mining manager, Hendrik van Niekerk was the guest speaker at the graduation and congratulated the graduates for successfully completing the programme. “You have sacrificed your family time for a number of weeks without remuneration, you have picked up what is to be expected and what is required to be successful in a business and, most importantly, you have identified faces and you know what help to look for and where to look for it,” stated van Niekerk in his address.
Speaking on behalf of the delegates were Barksie Malema and Daniel Setlatjile. Malema thanked COENG for the opportunity. “I would love to thank COENG for thinking that there are a few contractors at Anglo who should come and learn what we have learnt through these six sessions. The greatest things we have learnt in our classes is respect, how to engage with your subordinates and discussing safety issues with the work force,” stated Malema. In his remarks, Setlatjile also thanked COENG for the opportunity which they grabbed with both hands. “Louis taught us that our companies are calves and we need to make sure that we grow them and eventually milk them while they give us another calf,” said Setlatjile.
Anglo American principal reliability engineer, asset strategy and reliability, for Platinum, Natalie Fourie also attended the graduation and stated that she has been involved with the programme for quite a while. “When this initiative started, I was the acting asset manager at Mogalakwena Complex and COENG approached us and said they want to put back into the community, not just with money and building things but skills wise and management wise,” said Fourie. “We have seen so many of the businesses in the local community; they want to quote, they want to be involved in the tenders, but they lack some of the basic business skills to excel, so COENG put this programme together with this being the fourth group to go through this programme”.