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A socially impactful business

Creating employment and witnessing her employees put a roof over their heads, provide for their families and turn their lot around has been one of the biggest highlights for serial entrepreneur and businesswoman Kgaugelo Mogapi. Not only this but the empowerment of locals where her business is operating has also heightened her passion to pay it forward by giving back to the local community in Mokopane.

Kgaugelo is the founder and Managing Director of Kele Engineering and Construction, a company

that provides a variety of services to the mining sector from engineering, procurement and

construction management.

The business leader joined forces with her business partner and co founder; Mr Nkosilathi Tshuma,

in 2016 and in 2018 secured their first engineering vehicle aircon maintenance contract with Anglo

Mogalakwena Platinum mine.

The company is currently providing engineering services to clients including Anglo American

Platinum’s Mogalakwena Mine. The contract entails providing resources on site for the maintenance

and repairs of air conditioning equipment on the mine’s heavy mobile equipment. It has also

expanded to Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa.

“The collaboration with local communities has led to our recently established training academy as part of our social corporate investment initiative.

The idea behind the training academy is to assist previously disadvantages locals who are passionate about artisanship; financially constrained and not in a position to pursue their studies going forward.

We are targeting and will be assisting three categories of local citizens; the first category is the locals that have performed extremely well in Maths and Science; the second category is artisans who have completed their studies in artisanship but do not have Red seal certificates and the last group is qualified artisans who are unemployed and are seeking job experience through apprenticeship. The desired outcome is to alleviate and curb the high unrelenting high levels on unemployment in this country. I am paying forward by providing mentorship to young and upcoming entrepreneurs in the engineering and construction space,” she says.

A woman in a man’s world

Yet being a woman is an industry dominated by men has proven to be difficult, add to that having to

navigate the Covid-19 pandemic that placed a lot of restrictions on how companies operated.

“Being a woman led business presents massive competition since this is a male dominated territory,

even so the opportunities are an equal match and women should not despair as clients are looking

for the best value proposition”. She wants to see a reality where there is better access to funding and adjudication to favour cohesive proposals by women to increase their quota in mostly male dominated industries.

Access to opportunities

Like other industries and start-ups access to capital for investment has been a huge challenge and

reduction in available opportunities for their business growth as influenced by the effects of the

pandemic did not ease the trial. Kgaugelo admits that her company was one of the fortunate ones that were not hardest hit by the pandemic. As an essential engineering service provider their running Engineering and maintenance air conditioning vehicle contract remained in force when lock down kicked in.

“Equipment and infrastructure still required to be serviced and repaired, as a result, our employees continued to operate. We however struggled sourcing additional projects critical to sustain our economic viability, hence we had to resort to cost cutting initiatives without compromising the services that we offer and the safety and health of our employees and our working environment”.

Kgaugelo says one of the biggest lessons she has drawn since the inception of her business is

perseverance when the going gets tough and vigilant pursuit of business opportunities.

“The environment often becomes difficult to navigate especially when a pandemic like Covid-19 pulls

the rug under our feet however its key not to be distracted and to remain focused on the vision”.


The future and impact

She says her plans are to expand the Kele Engineering and Construction brand by continuing to

supply state of the art services that meet and exceed client expectations.

“We want to ensure that our brand is classified as the employer of choice in the engineering and

construction space, to secure more business clients and to expand to neighbouring countries and

across the African continent.

She wants to build a company that renders the best value, innovative solutions, high quality services

and competitive pricing to mining clients.

“We intend to be a top-notch business partner who over and above impacts positively in the

communities by enabling growth and self-reliance of the residents through our job creation and

social corporate investment initiatives”.



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Editor's note

American novelist Louisa May Alcott said it best when she said “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

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