- Year business registered: 2016
- Enrolled in Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs: January 2017
- Number of employees: 3 (and 21 casual)
- Business classification: Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME)
- BBBEE ownership: 100% black owned
- Nature of business: Building, Contractor, Maintenance
- Website: www.ronem.co.za
- Twitter: @fhumu81 #tsogoentrepreneurs
- Facebook: facebook.com/ronemmaintenance
Ronem, all about service and solutions
Fhumulani Nemukula from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, founder and MD of Ronem Maintenance Solutions, was inspired into entrepreneurship many years ago when he encountered an elderly woman selling vetkoek on the side of the road. He learned that, through her small enterprise, she had managed to employ two people and pay for her two sons to go to university. At the time Nemukula was completing his internship training at a technical training centre.
“She was creating her own opportunities, even without any training or skills development. This made me realise that I too could achieve anything if I put my mind to it.”
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Years later in 2015, when his passion for building maintenance and construction took root in his life, Nemukula remembered that resolute woman. Determined to combine his passion, the skills he had gained over the years, and the motivation she had inspired in him, he launched his own business.
Ronem Maintenance Solutions is a one-stop-shop for reliable and quality building maintenance services in construction, repair and maintenance.
“What makes us different is that we offer solutions, we don’t just repair and maintain. This is an industry where customer service often needs fine tuning so we have developed a system that allows us to use our technical skills and our understanding of our customers’ needs to deliver what we call Ronem Solutions.”
Nemukula has a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering and certificates in Health and Safety, Installation Rules (SANS 10142), Facilities Management, and Leadership. Electrical engineering was a natural path for him, he says, as his father worked for City Power in Johannesburg for over 40 years. “It suited me well. I love solving technical problems – and my work suits my personality. I thrive on finding solutions to challenges.”
Over the past 13 years Nemukula has been involved in building maintenance in the hospitality and commercial sectors in South Africa and Mozambique. He is still employed by Broll Property Group in Nelspruit on a half-day basis, leaving him free to run his business as well. He has three full-time permanent employees, who include his brother as project manager and his wife, who has a BCom Accounting degree and manages the admin and books, and 21 casual employees – most of whom are employed from local townships where the rate of unemployment is high, and five of whom are women. He is also committed to bringing women into the industry.
“We work hard to develop young men and women from the local community and we do a lot of on-site training for our unskilled workers.”
Taking it further, Ronem has also encouraged casual workers to become sub-contractors to his company, thus developing their own businesses and creating further employment.
Ronem is environmentally responsible and has developed its own policy that ensures that only energy saving lights and equipment is installed in new developments and recommended in refurbishments. The team is committed to complying with all dumping regulations.
Nemukula joined Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs through a Supplier Showcase event held at Tsogo Sun’s Emnotweni Casino in Nelspruit. That was a positive experience in itself, he says, and led to new contracts. However, being invited to apply to join the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur programme (at the end of 2016) has been wonderful and humbling.
“It has given me the opportunity to learn from amazing entrepreneurs and it has inspired me to live my dreams.”
He says that since joining the programme, his company has become more constructive and focused. He has gained great value from the expert advice in different areas of running a business, from interaction with other entrepreneurs, and from the coaching sessions.
“The coaching helped me to think out of the box. I have realigned the way I look at myself and my business. In simple terms, the coaching sessions have increased our bottom line.”