Eskom Contractor Academy
Image credit: Eskom

The Eskom Contractor Academy has recognised and rewarded 14 budding entrepreneurs for having completed a gruelling academic programme.

The annual regional graduation ceremony was held on Friday, 12 July 2019 in Cape Town.

This programme is aimed at assisting emerging contractors to grow their businesses, particularly within the energy space.

The 8-month course, which ran from October 2018, required participants to attend a 1-week block session every month, where students were equipped with vital business skills that allow them to understand the business environments within which they operate, navigate their way around industry challenges, think out the box in finding solutions and channel their energy into success strategies.

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Since its inception in 2008, the Contractor Academy has seen 1481 students graduate nationally, with 173 coming from the Western Cape, with many of them continuing to achieve phenomenal success in their business ventures.

This year’s class was a hugely dynamic group, with all but one student already operating independent businesses. Interestingly, the student who achieved the highest score on the programme, 34-year-old Warren Williams from Grassy Park in the Cape Flats, is the one student that is still in full-time employment.

“I’m both humbled by this achievement and inspired by my peers to follow my dreams and lay the groundwork for my new business venture. While the security of full-time employment is comforting, the entrepreneurial bug has bitten and I am ready to take calculated risks and make my mark,” said Williams.

The space was equally contested by women who are earning their stripes in the energy field.

Belinda Jara (40) from Gugulethu, a petroleum wholesaler, is ready to tackle the stiff competition she encounters from the major fuel suppliers in South Africa; this with all the tools she has acquired on this programme.

She places great emphasis on having mastered the issue of compliance as a small business and is already able to submit tenders for Eskom projects.

Steph Prinsloo, Programme Manager of the Eskom Contractor Academy applauded the students for the way they embraced this opportunity.

“Eskom is committed to developing emerging contractors so that they are able to prosper and create further opportunities for South Africans to access gainful employment within our sector. We are passionate about developing the knowledge economy of our country, through innovation, skills transfer, knowledge sharing and collaboration, as we recognise that South Africa’s future economic growth is dependent on this,” said Prinsloo in his closing remarks.

Eskom Development Foundation CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi said: “It is worth noting that 50% of the overall enrolment over the 11-year period comes from the youth population of our society and there is still room for improvement in this regard.”