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MBS Air Conditioning and Refrigeration: Mabaka Monakgisi

Well-run ED programmes are making a difference to budding entrepreneurs.

Juliet Pitman

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Mabaka Monakgisi

Mabaka Monakgisi knows just how tough it is to get your foot in the door when you’ve just started a business. “I had only worked for one year in the aircon and refrigeration industry when I left my job to start my own company. Without any track record or experience, it was very difficult to convince companies to give me a chance,” says the founder of MBS Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

The company managed to just keep its head above water for a couple of years, until Monakgisi approached property investment holding giant, Growthpoint Properties, to try and secure a contract. He got the ‘No’ he’d come to expect, but with it came an unexpected opportunity – one that was to change MBS’ fortunes.

“Growthpoint runs an enterprise development programme called Property Point, which incubates small black-owned businesses by providing them with skills training, business knowledge and mentorship. The company said my business was not yet ready to become a contractor or meet their standards, but I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the programme,” Monakgisi explains.

After two years in the Property Point programme, MBS was awarded a contract with one of Growthpoint’s office parks. “We gave that job our all and they were really happy with it. Since then we’ve been awarded other contracts,” he says, adding that while Growthpoint remains his biggest client the business has expanded to take on other clients. “We now also service shopping malls, hospitals and tertiary institutions,” he explains.

“Our monthly turnover has grown three-fold. It was a real tipping point for us,” says Monakgisi.

Vital stats

Player: Mabaka Monakgisi

Company: MBS Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Launched: 2004

Contact: +27 (0)12 343 3800

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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