Engineering, design and project management company COENG is providing business skills development training for small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) at the Mogalakwena platinum mine, in Limpopo.
The three-month development programme, presented byCOENGin partnership with platinum miner Anglo American Platinum, provides SMME entrepreneurs with training in valuable business basics such as general management, finances, human resources, marketing, safety and quality management, as well as entrepreneurship.
Having started in March 2019, the development programme hosts company owners and directors of local small enterprises from the communities surrounding Mogalakwena at no cost. The aim is to develop SMME suppliers and contractors to the mine.
“Our mandate at Mogalakwena South Concentrator was to execute small- to medium-sized projects using local enterprises. This exposure and collaboration with the up-and-coming companies in the area showed us the gaps in existing development programmes and led to the development and initiation of this programme,” explains COENG mining operations manager Louis Labuschagne.
He notes that COENG is neither an accredited training institution nor is the programme an accredited course – although the company plans to register as an official training service provider in future.
“It’s a development programme aimed at transferring skills and experience between peers with similar backgrounds, with me facilitating and stimulating discussions while adding a basic theoretical background,” he explains.
Labuschagne notes, however, that any business management programmes are of value to business leaders.
“One is never too old to learn and one can never claim to know it all,” he quips.
“Schooling is not prescribed, although it will benefit attendees more if they can read and write,” Labuschagne says, adding that all ages are catered to. About 15 participants typically enrol during each cycle.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 meant that we had to reduce the numbers of each session to allow for physical distancing. Moreover, we managed to run only two groups in 2020, instead of the targeted three groups,” he tells Mining Weekly.
About 60 local companies have passed through the programme.
“If our assistance, motivation and exposure assisted ten of these SMMEs in making better business decisions, then we, as COENG, have made a difference in keeping money circulating in the area, growing the economy one village at a time. That is true empowerment,” he concludes.