Connect with us

Snapshots

Ukubona Electrical: Alfred Faber

Electrical company wins top contracts after investing in skills development.

Juliet Pitman

Published

on

Alfred Faber of Ukubona Electrical

When Alfred Faber started out in business, he operated outof a converted camper van. Today, he runs Ukubona Electrical, a company with aturnover of R200 million and 58 permanent employees – and one that recently wonthe coveted Business Partners National Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2007.From his humble beginnings, Faber moved into premises at the airport where heshared a desk with two other people, then purchased premises in Edenvale beforebuilding Ukubona’s current offices in Longmeadow. “We’ve now purchased thepremises next door as well to enable us to expand,” he says.

Ukubona specialises in medium and high voltage electricalwork, including switchgear, cables and transformers in the 11KV to 400KV range.The business has established international supplier relationships with fouroverseas companies, but is looking forward to embarking on a new growth phaseas a local manufacturer. Looking back on the past twenty years Faber points to onefactor which he believes has played the most critical role in his success: “Along time ago I realised that we needed to ensure the sustainability of theelectrical sector – and that to achieve this, we’d have to invest heavily inskills training and empowerment of our people. I realised people were leavingthe country and that if my business was going to survive I’d have to buildskills internally.”

Faber is a firm believer that when a company shows belief inthe potential of individuals, and is willing to back up that belief with aninvestment in development and training, the entire company culture isstrengthened. “We see the benefits of this approach on a daily basis in ourcompany. When you treat people as individuals and take an interest in theircareer growth path, they tune into your vision and stop seeing themselves asmerely a number or ‘just another employee’. It fosters greater buy-in to yourvision, and if you can achieve that and get all your people behind you with acommon sense of purpose, your company can truly go places,” he says. Back in 1993, after recognising that the country was headingfor substantial infrastructural growth, Faber realised he’d have to expand thebusiness and upskill his workforce if Ukubona was to take advantage of theopportunities that lay ahead. “I appointed two BEE directors to join me in thebusiness and together we started ensuring that our people would have the bestskills in the sector,” he relates.

The company started sending employees toSwitzerland to receive world-class training in its sector. The cost of such training is substantial, but Faber believesit’s given his business a competitive edge in more ways than one. “It’s notjust about being able to offer clients the best skills in the market, which ofcourse makes us a contractor of choice. It’s also about being internally-grown,something of which we’re very proud,” he says, continuing, “One of our keyproject managers today was someone we picked up as a casual labourer on theside of the road. He went for overseas training and today he runs his ownprojects. Another example is our bookkeeper, who came to us asking for a job,but without formal skills. She started in reception answering the phone andtoday is a fully qualified bookkeeper.”

Faber is quick to point out however, that such an approachonly works in a situation where there is equal commitment from both parties.“The company needs to recognise potential and give people a chance to developit, but the individual needs to want to develop themselves as well, and makethe most of the opportunities presented to them. It doesn’t work if you don’thave the right attitude from both sides and we’ve been fortunate in havingself-motivated and determined individuals.” Ukubona lists high profile contracts among its projects,including the stadiums for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Gautrain, various Eskomprojects and the upgrade of the airports. “This country is at an amazingcross-road and I feel greatly blessed to be part of the solution to thechallenges it faces. It’s good to be in the position we are in right now,” saysFaber. Contact: +27 11 608 4736; www.ukubonaelectrical.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

Snapshots

27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

Published

on

Prev1 of 28

27-of-the-richest-people-in-south-africa

Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
Prev1 of 28

Continue Reading

Snapshots

Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

Published

on

Prev1 of 51

top-black-entrepreneurs-to-watch

Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

Prev1 of 51

Continue Reading

Snapshots

Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

Published

on

Prev1 of 51

50-top-sa-small-businesses-to-watch

Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
Prev1 of 51

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending