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Black female entrepreneur conquers in male dominated industry

In late August 2017 at the Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) awards in Johannesburg, the name Oakantswe Construction and Projects was called up as the winner of the engineering and construction category. After overcoming a slight hesitation, the company’s managing director, Tebogo Moloi, went up to accept the award.

After being a runner-up in the same competition and category in 2016, Oakantswe came back to go one better in 2017. As a category winner, Moloi’s company walked away with a cash prize of R100 000.

When Moloi established her Tshwane-based company in 2010, she knew that she was entering a male dominated environment, but that didn’t deter this ambitious entrepreneur. The company provides electrical and telecommunications services including installations and maintenance. They cater mainly to property developers, government and the private sector. They specialise in electrical building installations and maintenance, mini substations, minor and major reticulation, fibre to the home/business installations, street lights etc.

The company also operates in the telecommunications sector, where they have a contract with Huawei, for whom they install optic fibre which includes civil work, hauling of ducts, floating, splicing, and manholes and cable installation and termination. They will be using the prize money to grow this part of their business by buying more equipment, including generators, extension ladders, grinding machines, splicing machine, floating machine, and electrical test kits. A portion of the money will go towards training and skills development.

Moloi had tried her hand at various businesses before opening her latest company. She studied credit management at university and after completing it got a job as a flight attendant where she worked for two years. While in that job she bought clothes from overseas and resold them locally.

She later started Small Important People, which organised kids’ parties and fun days for companies. When the market became too saturated, Tebogo decided to venture into other avenues and that’s when Oakantswe was established. Now with 15 employees, her company got its first job at the Polokwane Municipality to electrify houses and it is now on CIDB grading 5.

Eskom Development Foundation’s acting CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi says the BIC assists local, black-owned and registered enterprises that have been running for more than 24 months to take their operations to another level. These are business in the manufacturing, engineering and construction, trade and services as well as agriculture and agri-processing sectors. “The BIC has been helping small enterprises move to the next level with not only the financial rewards, but also business skills, training and networking opportunities provided as part of their prizes.”

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