Thabang lost his voice on the morning of the interview, we spoke to his business partner Mpumsi Tshwana.
Thabang Mofokeng has been the director and CEO of SAMAC Engineering Solutions since 2013, a mechanical engineering business with a core focus on green solutions.
The business specialises in the mechanical and electrical engineering designs (thermal and finite element analysis) and components fabrication. It has two departments: Research and Development, and Component Fabrication.
Its target market includes air-conditioning consultants and event management companies – who make use of its services for wedding, conferences, etc.
SAMAC Engineering Solutions has exclusive rights to supply Phase Change Material – a bio degradable product – that cools down buildings and reduces air-conditioning costs by up to 30%. This material is also used in a new product called Iceless Pour, which is used to serve draught beer without the need for ice – even in hot conditions (outdoor events) because the gel has a higher melting point.
“The benefits of our products – which are green and energy saving – are a shift in load and carbon emissions – and differentiates us from others in the market.”
SAMAC Engineering Solutions has a Level 1 B-BBEE status.
The business currently employs eight people and plans to employ up to 53 by 2019.
In 2016, SAMAC Engineering Solutions was shortlisted as one of 50-companies to be part of mentorship and incubation programme run by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In 2017, it was also shortlisted as one of the top-five in the African Youth Energy Innovator competition held at the Africa Energy Indaba. SAMAC Engineering Solutions was also funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to develop an industrial prototype for a thermal storage mobile air-conditioning system, which has since been patented.
To help develop the business, Thabang has set a series of goals which include:
Short term, to expand the business’s operations and establish a manufacturing plant, of about 1000m², complete with a production line of fixed, mobile and residential air-conditioning units.
Long term, Thabang would like to see the business reach a national footprint, followed by an international one.
As a SAB KickStart Boost finalist, Thabang hopes the business will gain exposure and market access, as well as supply SAB with its Iceless Pour product.
- Inspiration: Sam Kennedy – a colleague and leader at the Mentorship Development Institute, where I served as a director in 2007. He has always believed in me and my vision and told me “you will make it’. He encouraged and motivated me.
- What drives you and motivates you as an entrepreneur? Faith is what drives me – from my faith, I believe that ALL things are possible. Commitment and dedication are the Hallmark of my inspiration.
- Advice to fellow entrepreneurs: Being an entrepreneur is a lonely and very challenging journey. It is full of empty promises, discouragement, betrayal but it is also full of opportunities and success. It requires a daily dose of PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). Although you will be faced with many ‘testing times’ and you may want to ‘throw in the towel’, do not lose sight of the bigger picture – your goal. Lastly, never, ever, ever, give up! There is a door with your name on, just keep knocking.
- Something from your entrepreneur journey: Before setting up my current business, I have failed countless times and I was tempted to give up on many occasions. At one point, I sold chicken dust at traffic lights in Mobeni. I learnt valuable lessons along the way – lessons you do not receive in school – that shaped my thinking and helped me grow stronger and wiser, for my business to remain successful. Someday, I would like to share these lessons with other aspiring entrepreneurs.
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