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Local Content Conference: The solution? Develop entrepreneurs!

At a recent conference revolving around positive exploiting of South African natural resources through the promotion of small businesses in terms of import and export, a large range of experts, including our own Judi Sandrock held discussions as to how this would be positive.

South Africa Local Content Conference: 16-17 September

Sponsored: Total, SAOGA, DTI

MEDO CEO Judi Sandrock during the conference

MEDO CEO Judi Sandrock during the conference

Delving into the topic as to how small to mid-sized companies can participate in the mining supply chain, MEDO CEO Judi Sandrock called a spade a spade, “We need to build alternative economies around the mining sector. Small towns build themselves around one resource, we need to open resources so that communities have something to fall back upon.” Fellow panel speaker Mmbabatho Matiwane BBBEE manager, PetroSA furthered on this through touching upon B-BBEE, “We need to keep the economy of the local community going, so there is nothing to defend about BEE as it is economic development. In most countries they need to empower the minority, South Africa needs to empower the majority, being youth, women and black people.” Regarding B-BBEE she further mentioned that through suppliers are technically good, it is at the side of Business Management where they are lacking. Wanda Chunnett, director of Turner & Townsend echoed Mmbabatho and Judi in stating that emergent suppliers are technically competent, but desperately require the implementation of a more formalised business system.”

Judi Sandrock, Mmbabatho Matiwane, Wanda Chunnett

Justin Pitt, managing director of Safika Resources talking on import and export issues, also highlighted the issue of people development, “We need a rejuvenation in the industry, and the biggest thing keeping us from that is skills development. There is a severe shortage of professionals. To succeed, South Africa needs to anticipate success, and the only way to do that is to invest in people.” His solution to the problem was simple, “We need entrepreneurs, we need to set up an environment focussed on entrepreneurship.” Claire McMaster, group HR manager from the MSA Group furthered that the greatest flaw regarding this is that people need to realise university degrees aren’t tickets to life, technicians, people who can directly apply their skills need to be developed.

“The incubator support programme came from Minister Rob Davies’ visit to super fast developing countries, which we are implementing in South Africa now. Only when we collaborate and work together to develop South Africa from the ground-up, can we build a sustaining economy around reserves,” Judi’s speech ended her speech.

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