Atlas Copco South Africa and Enterprise Development
Posted by Daniel Makhura on 19 October 2017 2:25 PM SAST
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Atlas Copco South Africa, in partnership with Tirisano Trust, supports Filpro, an enterprise development township mechanics programme that is empowering countless informal businesses in seven of the country’s provinces. Industrial Technique and Compressor Technique, two business areas within Atlas Copco, respectively donated tools and compressors to the programme which develops informal, disadvantaged Service Centres to become successful and sustainable businesses.
“As a leading global provider of sustainable productivity solutions to mining and industry, the Atlas Copco Group places high priority on supporting the communities it touches and protecting the environmental footprint it covers,” says Kgothatso Ntsie, Atlas Copco South Africa’s Corporate Communications Manager, South and Sub-Sahara Africa. “Enterprise development programmes such as Filpro offer tremendous benefits to South Africa and its disadvantaged communities, and therefore we are pleased to establish a partnership with Filpro who will provide a platform for our social responsibility focus.”
Industrial Technique Regional General Manager, Didier Marly, and Service Manager, Rudy Brown, joined Filpro in visiting some of the Service Centres to understand how they operate and what their needs are. Industrial Technique has sponsored a wide range of tools including sockets, torque and impact wrenches, drills, sanders jacks, engine lifts, etc.
“As the informal businesses vary from generalist mechanics to tyre repairs and panel beaters, the selection of tools and workshop equipment was done in close co-operation with Filpro to maximise product suitability,” explains Marly. In addition to donating tools, Industrial Technique also invested time by providing product training to mechanics in Gauteng. “We plan to conduct follow-up visits with Filpro to ensure that the tools are being used correctly, to offer advice and training,” adds Brown.
Compressor Technique donated 27 Automan 2.2kW 3 HP compressors and Charl Ackerman, Business Line Manager, Industrial Air Division, affirms that a further 18 units will be rolled out during the next few weeks.
““We appreciate the support of Atlas Copco, through their B-BBBEE company, Tirisano Trust. Their generous contribution to the Filpro programme and its direct benefit to the mechanics will have a huge effect on their businesses.” says Mboneni Magada, General Manager, Filpro (Pty) Ltd. “It’s been a rewarding experience working with the motor mechanics, many of whom started this line of work out of necessity without any formal training and are now running a registered workshop. They have become entrepreneurs in their own right, a position they felt was unachievable previously.”
Filpro was established in 2011 by automotive component manufacturers G.U.D. Holdings and NGK Spark Plus. What began as a vision supported by a team of project coordinators became a reality that has seen the programme grow to over 1000 registered programme beneficiaries in Gauteng, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape.
A variety of soft skills trainings such as, Basic Business Management, Finance and Bookkeeping, Sales and Marketing, Business Planning and Profiling and Business Excellence were offered to all programme participants in Gauteng. These trainings have equipped the small business owners on how to formally operate their businesses. In addition, the programme beneficiaries received product training on automotive filters, brake pads, lubricants and spark plugs.
The product training sessions highlighted the importance of fitting quality automotive parts to their clients’ vehicles as cheap substandard parts are prolific in the townships. The success of the initiative is also attributed to various partner organisations such as the AA, Department of Labour, SARS, banking institutions and local municipalities.
Numerous success stories bear testament to the value that this enterprise programme adds by helping to expand and improve modest income generating informal activities to grow and contribute to the local community with a subsequent positive impact on the country’s economy. In 2013 Stephen Modisane, owner of Stevienator Auto, was approached by Filpro Project Co-ordinators during the roll out of the programme in Sebokeng, Vereeniging. Since signing up to the Filpro programme three years ago Stephen has transformed his business from an informal workshop operating from his home into a RMI accredited workshop with established premises and staff complement. “It is a privilege to a member of the Retail Motor Industry. I am proud to have my business recognized and supported by the RMI which in turn will generate more income for my business.” enthused Stephen.
Bethuel Nematondoni, owner of SAAB Motors in Soweto, started his business from humble beginnings in 2005, operating from the Bara Taxi Rank. He joined the programme in 2012 and today he employs six people. Commenting on how Filpro’s business management training has contributed to the success of his business, Bethuel says, “I thank Filpro for opening our eyes in terms of business because before we were just operating without knowing the principles of a business. Now we know the importance of filing, recording every amount that is coming to the business and the importance of housekeeping.”