SA needs an entrepreneur revolution

2014-05-04 15:01

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Nchaupe Khaole, senior investment manager of the Mineworkers’ Investment Company (MIC), believes that the country needs an entrepreneurship revolution.

While there are new opportunities provided to black enterprises by the BEE policy, Khaole said black entrepreneurs needed to be more innovative.

He knows first-hand the struggles faced by people starting their own businesses.

For a year and a half, he and his partners struggled to get their private equity firm off the ground. Bank funding was difficult as they were first-time managers and had no track record as a team.

This is why he joined the MIC where one of his more recent projects included spearheading the MIC Incubator Programme in the mining town of Witbank.

Khaole advised entrepreneurs to think creatively about funding. “If we expect private sector companies to have venture capital divisions overnight, it’s not going to happen.”

He said the MIC, which started with seed capital of R3?million from the National Union of Mineworkers, has grown its portfolio to more than R3?billion.

Khaole said although the MIC was not directly affected by what was happening in the mining industry, the three-month strike in the Rustenburg platinum belt needed a long-term sustainable solution.

“The current issue is that the demands from Amcu’s side are excessive and, inasmuch as I appreciate the conditions under which mine workers are expected to work and ply their trade, I think there has to be an acceptance that there are alternatives.

“And the alternatives for mining houses are to mechanise a lot more and that is not in the labour movement’s interests,” said Khaole.

“I think a more sustainable model would be to use production bonuses as a means to achieving those wage levels. Any model that rewards employees for overdelivering on expectations of the employer is sustainable.”

Khaole said the MIC preferred to invest in the industrial, ICT and manufacturing sectors.

One of its biggest successes was a Transnet contract to General Electric SA Technologies to build locomotives?–?a joint venture between the MIC and General Electric.

Now, the MIC is looking for investments in the healthcare sector.

“We think the South African population is underserved in terms of healthcare and there is a reason why this sector has attracted interest from multinationals?–?it provides many opportunities,” he said.

It is also looking at renewable energy and opportunities on the continent in the next few years. The MIC is not well resourced. We only have six or seven individuals and that is why we are not actively looking for opportunities in Africa. We don’t have enough capacity.”

The MIC’s biggest investments include 49.9% of Primedia, 34.7% of Metrofile and 17.5% of BP South Africa.

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