Andre Williams established AW Engineering in 2017, a business that offers mechanical engineering and sharpening services to manufacturing companies, and engineering workshops and woodwork shops within Cape Town.
The business offers the production of components, fabrication of machine parts and sharpening. The services range from general engineering to precision engineering, sparking and wire cutting to milling and gear cutting, as well as sharping – woodwork tools, cutters and blades.
Andre strategically positioned the business in Kuilsriver, which is within 5km of current and potential clients. The new entrepreneur aims to employ 2 people by 2020.
“My current business strategy is to understand each client’s criteria to ensure the correct and best solution is provided as well as adopting emerging technologies, which will ensure the business succeeds”.
Short term, Andre would like to continue improving his unique selling proposition, which is fourfold – capacity, impact, credibility and cost – as well as develop a marketing strategy for the business that includes branding and web presence. This in turn, he hopes to increase the customer base. In addition, he would like to employ two youth members from the community and start skills development and training of sharpening services, milling and turning.
Long term goals include securing fixed client contracts through an established reputation within Cape Town that allows him to open four sharpening chain stores within the region – each would employ up to four people. He would also like to build relationships in technical schools in around the Cape Flats area for students to gain engineering workshop experience through job shadowing and perhaps earn a part-time salary during weekends or holidays.
As a SAB KickStart Boost finalist, Andre has already started implementing some of the learnings from the programme thus far – such as reducing waste costs and being able to measure processes. Going forward, he hopes to gain market access and continue working with SAB.
“Being a SAB KickStart Boost finalists is a great achievement but this is a competition after all and I hope to go all the way, because by doing so, AW Engineering will consistently grow and become a catalyst for job creation.”
Contact: (021) 903 9868 / 072 179 7360
Email: [email protected]
- Inspiration: Adam Schwindt, who is my mentor as a fellow entrepreneur. He has been with me, on my journey, since 2005 and walked me through some tough times. There is a saying ‘older and wiser’ and Adam, who is in his late 70’s and still working as an artisan toolmaker, brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to our relationship. He believes in me (and my vision) and I hold a great amount of respect for him. He pushes me, sometimes outside my comfort level – which is good – because he knows my capabilities. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely, disheartening, frustrating and stressful, at times and having Adam to talk to has been more valuable than I can truly express.
- What drives you and motivates you as an entrepreneur? I am strongly motivated by my vision for myself, for my family and for my community. I cannot ignore societal issues of poverty and environment degradation and my drive comes from being the change I want to see in the world. I would like to help develop youth from my community, who are passionate about engineering and trying to enter the work place, by creating opportunities for them.
- Advice to fellow entrepreneurs: I have a handful of advice titbits to share.
- Do not forget the reason why you became an entrepreneur in the first place – it is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day.
- Staff are your best assets, so be open with them and fill them in on what is happening and the achievables – do not sugar coat things.
- Stay positive! And stay close to your values and morals – because this will help you achieve your end goals.
- The difference between a successful and unsuccessful entrepreneur, can be perseverance (and resilience).
- Something from your entrepreneur journey: My journey has not been easy. I managed to source and fund the business without any loans. All my equipment and tools were paid for and I started out without any debt, which, as other entrepreneurs will know, is a difficult thing to do. Then, all my business equipment and tools were stolen, including two jobs I had completed. This was a very trying time for me, but the ‘jock’ in me told me ‘not to quit’ and I overcame the hurdle.
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