With the funds from the GEP we have been able to acquire earthworks equipment and we believe that investment will take to the next level of our growth path.
Business:Isisekelo Engineering Services
Sector: Engineering Sector
Finance: Expansion Finance
Isisekelo Engineering Services is a civil, structural, and mechanical engineering company based in Tshwane. They provide services that range from engineering design to construction. Founder and CEO, Sicelo Myeni founded the company in 2018 after spending many years as a resident engineer and mine manager mainly in the mining sector, where he worked for prominent companies such as Anglo Gold Ashanti, Exxaro and Rio Tinto.
“I realised that the engineering sector has very few black owned companies, and after my long stint in the corporate sector decided to start my own business. I invested a lot of my own capital to start the business because I believed I could make it work” says Myeni. Myeni has lived up to his self-belief, Isisekelo’s first client was Universal Coal for a turnkey project to design and construct a pollution control dams for their waste discard facility and Roodekop opencast mining operation. After that break, the company has not looked back and is creating a name for itself in mining sector especially the highly specialized niche market of waste facilities design, civil and mechanical construction services.
“This area of civil and mechanical engineering is dominated by white owned companies, and while there are black companies in civil engineering, most are in the construction of houses and roads, we have thus created a niche market for ourselves particularly in the design and construction of waste facilities and mining infrastructure” explains Myeni.
The company is registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) as level 6 for mechanical, civil, and building engineering work. It employs twenty (20) permanent employees and depending on projects, often employs more on fixed term contracts.
Myeni approached the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) for funding to source equipment to help grow the company’s asset base and to improve the cost effectiveness of Isisekelo. “We were spending a lot of money renting equipment for earthworks due to the nature of our work, and we believe it is more cost effective for us to own equipment, hence we approached the GEP. With the funds sourced from the GEP, we have been able to acquire earthworks equipment and we believe that this investment will take us to the next level of our growth path” says Myeni.
Myeni’s immediate goal is to grow the company and it make it more sustainable, so it can be less susceptible to cash flow challenges. “We are looking at sourcing longer term contracts that will make easier to predict and manage cash flow. The company is building a portfolio of clients across the country including the Northern Cape and the North West. “We are fabricating a conveyor structure and supplying mechanical equipment for Kudumane Manganese Resources to install at their Northern Cape mining operation. We are also doing waste facilities design work for Bushveld Vametco Alloys mining operation in the North West, and we have clients like Evander Gold Mining in Mpumalanga” he says.
Myeni believes that access to capital is the biggest barrier of entry into the market. “There are very few black companies in the industry, partly because of skills set and experience but mainly because the industry is very capital intensive.
Clients are not prepared to pay high upfront deposits for awarded work, and banks will look at your balance sheet and decline your funding application. In addition to that, small businesses must contend with unfavourable payment terms in some cases. It is thus very important that there is support for businesses that are seeking to enter and grow in the sector” he concludes.