VENTURES AFRICA - Wayne Oosthuizen is a pragmatic executive with a wealth of experience in SME development and Black Economic Empowerment arena’s. Backed with a successful track record in economic development, Wayne now leads Engeli, a new ‘player’ in the finance/investment sector focusing on technology and manufacturing environments.
Wayne, thank you for taking time to chat to us. Our readers will certainly be intrigued by your insight.
WO: Engeli means Angel and is a play on the “Angel Investor” concept that encapsulates the provision of both financial and non-financial support provided by an experienced business person. The name was also influenced by the book written by Oliver Thambo, “Beyond the Engeli Mountains”. Essentially it looks at the opportunities that may be on the “other side of the mountain” if one is prepared to take the risk. This is a position (risk/reward) that we as a company thrive in and is a concept that is the keystone of entrepreneurship.
The partners of the company bring in a combination of varied and complementary skills and have a range of Corporate, SME Development, Black Economic Empowerment, Access to Finance, Market Access, Technology and International Finance attributes. The Directors are Alfred da Costa (Director on the Board of Bidvest and a number of other listed companies), Trevor Hayter (previous CEO and Chairperson of Altx listed IQUAD and many other listed and unlisted companies), Barry Wiseman (27 years of Corporate Banking and SME Consulting Experience) and Wayne Oosthuizen (16 years of SME Development Experience with a focus on technology and export market development)
VA: Tell us a bit more about Wayne Oosthuizen?
WO: Wayne Oosthuizen is a SME development practitioner and an entrepreneur who has learnt his trade through making mistakes and learning valuable, and sometimes painful lessons, through the process. My formal background is Electronic Engineering and IT, but I have spent the last 16 years serving the SME community. I’m passionate about small business as this where job and wealth creation as well as innovation takes place. I’m a people and delivery centred person and do what it takes to deliver a product and or service that adds direct value to the client.
VA: What prospects exist for Engeli within the SME sector for the SADC region?
WO: At the moment the focus is on addressing the local market opportunities, but as business and delivery capacity grows for Engeli it is anticipated that we will venture further in Africa. The development challenge isn’t only a local “issue” and the prosperity of our neighbours plays a considerable role in the success of SA and due to the development deficits within SADC it is anticipated that there are opportunities available for Engeli.
VA: From an SME perspective, what makes Engeli different from other existing options?
WO: I think it is mainly our experience in both the Corporate World and Engeli’s focus on operating in a space where very few consultancies operate ie, Assisting businesses operating in a Technological Business Environment. We feel that SA needs to focus on the productive economy and not the consumption economy and thus Engeli have taken this strategic approach.
Engeli also offer a holistic services through addressing the 3 major impediments to the growth, development and sustainability of SME’s ;
- Access to Finance
- Access to Markets
- Access to Business Support and Mentorship
We deem this holistic approach to be imperative to the success of our interventions
VA: Why the strategy of targeting existing businesses, only?
WO: It is a well-known fact that the cost of creating jobs in an existing organisation is a lot less than creating jobs in a start-up company. The risks of failure are also a lot lower in an existing company. The ability of an existing company to penetrate new markets and to create further wealth is also well proven and thus development leverage is a lot greater in them. The other reason if that the ED funds within BBBEE are also focussed on existing enterprises and thus there is financial support to further develop these existing Black Owned Companies.
Although the focus is on existing businesses/opportunities, we also operate in the space of assisting start-ups who have viable ideas, where there are defined markets, a Unique Selling Proposition, a defined niche and a good jockey. This is where our incubation support model comes in.
VA: Can you simplify your focus on Broad-Based Black Economic (BBBEE) Empowerment for our readers?
WO: There is a natural fit between Engeli’s skill set and what is required to operate in the BBBEE development space. Also with the promulgation of the Preferential Procurement Act (December 2011), the carrot or stick has been established for companies to take the implementation of BBBEE more seriously. Essentially we see the development and business opportunity in BBBEE and hence we have made a concerted effort to delivery within that space. Engeli consults on all 7 of the BBBEE elements, but have specific delivery interventions for the elements of Preferential Procurement, Enterprise Development and Socio Economic Development.
VA: Why is business support so critical in this arena?
WO:Essentially if one is operating within the Economic Empowerment field, business support becomes imperative so as to ensure that the investment (time, money and other resources) generates the required returns and also to ensure sustainability of the development programmes that are supported.
VA: Off the cuff, do you think the youth of this era have optimal support structures for entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurship?
WO: There could always be more support, but I think that there should rather focus on quality and not quantity. Let’s optimise what is currently available.
The other issue is to commence with entrepreneurial sensitisation at an early age and with this foundation further growth in the entrepreneurial space will develop naturally. The issue of resources is always a big question, but with the Private Sector Enterprise Development and Socio Economic Development funds being spent in the market, the resource base to support youth development has and will increase substantially going forward.
Again, Wayne, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to share your insights. All the very best with your new role @ Engeli!