Issue 08

Saab Grintek Defence

Excelling on a global stage Saab Grintek Defence is a South African company with a global reputation. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Tom Cullum The common assumption, particularly in the defence and security industry, is that Africa is not strong when it comes to technology and innovation. Saab Grintek Defence has turned this claim on its head. According to CEO Magnus Lewis-Olsson, South African-made electronic warfare technology has and continues to make its mark in the international military arena, with home-grown self-protection systems being used by numerous defence forces around the world. An impressive range of defence forces, he says, use electronic warfare technology made and invented in South Africa. Amazingly, more than 90 percent of the systems that are being designed and produced by Saab Grintek Defence are being sold on export outside the continent. Unsurprisingly this has been celebrated by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) who named Saab Grintek Defence Best South African Export Company at the inaugural South African Premier Business Awards earlier this year. Hosted by the dti, Proudly South African and Brand South Africa, the award aims to recognise all export industry sectors from services to manufacturing and encourage other South African companies to participate in international business development and markets. It also recognises South African businesses which invest in both human and technical resources in various projects or activities, produce quality products and services, and remain domestically and internationally competitive. "We are a proudly South African company," Lewis-Olsson says. "And the fact our products are globally exported represents

Air Uganda

The wings of East Africa Meridiana Africa Airlines Limited, trading as Air Uganda, is a privately owned airline founded in 2007 in Uganda. Writer Hannah Eisman-Reynard Project manager James Mitchell Air Uganda was established in 2007 as a quality regional airline after more than 20 years without a national carrier in Uganda. In the six years since, the airline has grown from serving approximately 80,000 passengers a year to 170,000 passengers per year and runs on the basis of three pillars of high service and operating standards, reliability and punctuality. "How has the past year been for business for Air Uganda?" asks Cornwell Muleya, CEO of Air Uganda. "We have been growing steadily over the past year and have consolidated our routes across East Africa. The Ugandan air transportation market has been growing at approximately 15 percent every year now for six years in a row. Incidentally, we turned six years old today." Air Uganda, otherwise known as "the wings of East Africa", runs a two class product on board: Crane Class, which is its premium products, and an economy class. The airline also runs a frequent flyer programme called the Celestair Club. "We maintain a small, homogenous fleet," continues Mr Muleya. "This allows us to standardise our product on board and minimise operating costs. We were founded in 2007 in response to the need of Uganda to have an airline operating out of Entebbe airport. From here we connect passengers to all major cities in East Africa and in particular to Nairobi, Bujumbura, Mombasa, Juba,

Helios Towers Nigeria

Towering above the rest Helios Towers Nigeria provides fully-managed tower sites for the telecoms industry in Nigeria. We spoke to CEO Inder Bajaj about keeping Nigeria connected. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager Donovan Smith Helios Towers Nigeria puts up and maintains telecoms towers for the telecoms industry, providing an impressive guaranteed 99.99 percent uptime to clients, despite an average of just two hours grid time per day. Founded in 2006, this Nigeria-based company builds, manages and rents tower infrastructure structures to mobile network operators (MNOs) and internet service providers (ISPs) to host their antennas, base stations and transmission equipment. Helios Towers Nigeria's management of towers includes security, the supply of power, batteries, air-conditioned equipment shelters and rectifiers, as well as on-site support in the event of any problems to ensure the guaranteed uptime. Clients – telecoms companies – use the towers on a rental and lease basis and Helios Towers Nigeria has achieved an impressive average 2.8 clients per tower referred to as Colo Ratio. "Essentially we are a telecoms infrastructure company and we invest in and manage our own infrastructure," says CEO Inder Bajaj. Helios Towers Nigeria commenced operations in 2006 and is the oldest and largest independent tower company in the country. Key customers include global system for mobile (GSM) companies MTN, Airtel and EMTS. The sector is growing and moving fast. "Nigeria has around 25,000 towers and the number is growing by three to four thousand every year," Mr Bajaj says. Helios Towers Nigeria owns and runs around 1,300 and is putting up

Castrol South Africa : Running Smoothly

Castrol South Africa has been making oil since men have been making cars, using its experience to create a top of the line product.


South Africa's National oil company PetroSA continues "to perform admirably", achieving a R593 million net profit for the 2012/13 financial year. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Sheridan Halls PetroSA is South Africa's national oil company and it plays what its website describes as an "instrumental role in the country's transformation through a range of activities that span the petroleum chain". It is a giant. The question is where to start. Of course, it heavily involved in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, selling petrochemical products to South Africa's major oil companies and exporting petrochemical products to the international markets. In 1992 it famously started operating the world's first gas-to-liquid (GTL) refinery at Mossel Bay – and that refinery remains the third largest among the five now operating across the globe. According to its website, PetroSA's core business activities are "the exploration and production of oil and natural gas"; "the participation in, and acquisition of, local as well as international upstream petroleum ventures"; "the production of synthetic fuels from off shore gas at one of the world's largest GTL refineries"; "the development of domestic refining and liquid fuels logistical infrastructure"; and "the marketing and trading of oil and petrochemicals". "PetroSA operates the FA-EM, South Coast gas fields as well as the Oribi and Oryx oil fields. The producing gas fields provide feedstock to the Mossel Bay GTL refinery," the company says. "Outside South Africa, the company has exploration acreage in Equatorial Guinea and Namibia. "PetroSA's GTL refinery produces ultra-clean, low-sulphur, low-aromatic synthetic fuels and


Maintaining a niche focus Altrisk is a specialist long term risk product provider whose reputation has been built around superior underwriting expertise. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Sheridan Halls In life the unexpected happens and while you can't protect yourself against every potential hazard, you can take sensible measures to minimise the financial impact of the unexpected. This is why long term risk cover is important to help safeguard you and your family's financial security. But what happens if you struggle to get insurance because you have a chronic health condition or dangerous hobby? That's how Altrisk, an operating division of the Hollard Life Assurance company came about. Altrisk was the brainchild of two individuals, an underwriter, Dalene Allen, and Nick Stern, an actuary. They started out with the knowledge that there was a large amount of life insurance business being turned away as uninsurable and they believed that with the right approach anything is insurable at the right price, terms and conditions. With the backing of Hollard and Hannover Re they created the business that became Altrisk. In just 14 years the company has grown to hold a seven percent market share in a tough industry with many competitors. Altrisk has over 177,000 policies in force, with R226 billion sum insured. They started out as a niche underwriter and quickly gained a reputation for insuring impaired lives – the ones the industry traditionally had no appetite for. They created a framework where they were able to apply specialist underwriting and policy structuring to people who

GA Insurance

Poised for growth GAInsurance is a company poised for growth says CEO Vijay Srivastava. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Sheridan Halls The Kenyan insurance industry recorded 15 percent growth in the fi rst half of this year, with premiums growing to $744.7 million from $647 million in the same period last year. But, despite the growth, with an increasing number of people buying insurance, penetration is low and the result is that competition in the industry is fierce as licensed companies compete for a limited market. Kenyans' uptake of insurance cover, both at corporate and personal level, remains predominantly in the motor, fire industrial and personal accident (mainly group medical cover) classes. "The main issue affecting us and the industry in general is the unhealthy competition and lack of self-discipline among players," says Vijay Srivastava, CEO & Principal Officer, at GA Insurance. "The companies are too many for a relatively smaller market. The penetration and awareness of insurance is poor. The imbalance between a regulated and free market is a challenge. The crime related claims are always on rise besides the motor and Employers Liability legal claims and the industry is struggling to reduce the fraudulent claims especially in the motor classes." GA Insurance is one of the oldest insurance companies operating in Kenya, underwriting all classes of general insurance, including medical and travel. Formerly known as General accident Insurance Company of Kenya Limited, having its parentage from General Accident Insurance UK, it was incorporated as a Kenyan insurance company in 1979. In 2006, the company

Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital

Caring for Kenya Africa Outlook speaks to Dr John Kibosia of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital about what it's like operating Kenya's second largest referral hospital. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Eddie Clinton The Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital located in Eldoret, Kenya - home to Kenya's fourth international airport - has nearly 100 years of history having been founded in 1917 as the Native Cottage hospital with a bed capacity of 60. Today, it has a bed capacity of 550 serving the larger Western and Nyanza provinces in Kenya and its surrounding areas of Kapenguria, Kapsowar, Kitale, Nandi, Kapsabet and Tambach, as well as offering medical education through its association with Moi University, a major development. The hospital has certainly moved with the times – and we're happy to bring you its story because, as it has evolved, it has helped to transform healthcare in Kenya. Let's go back to 1990 when its association with Moi University began. "Moi has been at the forefront of training. The facility was upgraded to a hospital to be a training facility for the medical students," explains Dr John Kibosia of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. "The link has been good because so far whenever Moi Hospital University is mentioned – it is an honour. It is the university which has made the hospital." The upgrade did not come without its own challenges and, as the centre upgraded and grew, the patient numbers grew even more rapidly. "Previously referral cases had to be taken to Kenyatta national Hospital but

Greenbelt Fertilisers

GBF eyes African expansion Greenbelt Fertilisers, a 100 percent subsidiary of CHC Commodities, plays a major role in Africa's farming community. We talk to managing director Robert Coventry. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager James Mitchell Greenbelt Fertilisers (GBF) was incorporated in 2004 and founded in Zambia but over the years has expanded into Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The firm has what managing director Robert Coventry describes as "a proud record" in giving farmers "a higher yield with minimal costs" and he says that while it has traditionally focused on the commercial sector, "we are now also targeting smaller farms". With a small scale farmer, they'll typically use one fertiliser for any crop and in any soil. The potential in this sector is high. "We identified a need for more competition and better quality fertilisers," says Coventry. GBF's formula seems to work and in just nine years it has become the biggest supplier to the commercial sector in Zambia. To grow that fast it helps to have strong commercial links. Greenbelt Fertilisers are a 100 percent owned subsidiary of CHC Commodities Ltd., a firm which specialises in agricultural products such as maize, wheat, sorghum, malting barley and soya beans. It has links to major farming enterprises, as well as strong relationships in the logistics side of the business – handling and shipping large quantities of food products on behalf of traders and relief agencies. The positioning is strong, good commercial ties and the product is of a high quality – a strong start for any business, says


A winning taste for life Symrise is a global supplier of fragrances, flavorings, cosmetic active ingredients, raw materials and functional ingredients and its clients include manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages, the pharmaceutical industry and producers of nutritional supplements. Africa Outlook speaks to Ibrahim Wagdy about how Symrise has taken a hold in Egypt and beyond and its plans for the African continent. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager James Mitchell Symrise creates flavourings and fragrances for cosmetics, toiletries, sweets, savoury foods and beverages. Its clients include manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages, the pharmaceutical industry and producers of nutritional supplements and it is among the top four companies in the global flavors and fragrances market. Of course, the firm is headquartered in Holzminden, Germany, but the group is represented in over 35 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the U.S. and Latin America. "It takes on average 45 aroma chemicals to make a flavour so it takes a long time to train those people to develop a solid knowledge of hundreds of raw materials to be able to create different flavours," says Symrise Egypt's Managing Director Ibrahim Wagdy, talking about how Symrise trains technologists to work in flavours and fragrances. It sounds like a lot of fun – how do we get in? "We prefer to bring fresh people in than to headhunt," he replies. "We operate in quite a niche area and we select young, fresh graduates who show scientific curiosity and have a can-do attitude. We need them to be

Crystal Paper Group

Full flush Crystal Paper is recognised as being the leading independent tissue paper manufacturer in Africa. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Tom Cullum Tissue paper is big business. That box of tissues that you keep on standby for break-ups, weepy movies and nasty colds might look pretty unassuming, but there is a huge industry in place to make sure that your nose never goes un-blown. It's where the Crystal Paper Group comes comes in. However, it's a company with relatively humble beginnings as managing director Rafik Dosani explains. "Crystal Paper started in 1986 as one of the smallest tissue manufacturers in South Africa. However, by 2006 we had become the largest independent tissue manufacturer in the country." Since its birth, the company that started out as Crystal Paper Mills Pty Ltd has seen growth upon growth. It is now a nationally respected manufacturer of tissue, as well as having an extensive recycling programme, with a huge proportion of its new products being made from recycled paper. As the company has gone on to receive widespread recognition in South Africa and beyond, it has achieved a growing footprint in the national and international market, thanks party to a carefully laid out and well established manufacturing and sales infrastructure. Indeed, at the time of writing, the Crystal Paper Group is not only the largest privately owned tissue manufacturer in South Africa but the third largest such company across the entire continent of Africa. But this growth didn't happen overnight. The Crystal Paper Group is the living embodiment of

Total Facilities Management Company

Winning partnerships Total Facilities Management Company (TFMC) is the largest facilities management company in South Africa, providing integrated facilities management that minimises costs "through forward looking performance-based risk and maintenance strategies". We talk to managing executive Cornelius Van Der Merwe. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Stuart Shirra Facilities management is a critical, strategic business discipline with organisations the world over increasingly occupying complex buildings and using sophisticated technology for communications and control. Professional FM is needed to plan, maintain and manage such facilities. It is part of the drive to meet the higher demands of organisations and Individuals - we all have high expectations and good facilities management can deliver flexibility, adaptability and sustainability. Nobody understands this better than Total Facilities Management Company (TFMC). In South Africa you don't get bigger than them. "Facilities Management is so integrated in our lives that we don't realise how many times a day we actually engage in and experience facilities management," says managing executive Cornelius van der Merwe. "We are surrounded with our work environments for most of our days and almost everything we touch during a day is part of the facilities that support our core businesses. Think of the amount of times you touch doors, chairs, tables, flooring, ablution facilities and so many other not so obvious things like lighting and air conditioning not to mention the power we utilise at the various outlets where we require it." Many companies have the perception that facilities management is merely the maintenance of their buildings which can be done

Premier Service Medical Investments

Zimbabwe's largest healthcare giver Premier Service Medical Investments is Zimbabwe's premier healthcare service provider. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Eddie Clinton Zimbabwe's healthcare was once the envy of Africa. It was outstanding. But in the last two decades it has deteriorated, made worse as a result of the country's economic crisis. Indeed, Zimbabwe's economy boomed after independence in 1980, a time when healthcare standards were high, but from 2000 the seizure of white-owned farms led to chaos in the agriculture sector and the economy shrank by half. In 2008 hyperinflation of 231 million percent broke the national currency and left millions of people hungry and healthcare in crisis. The adoption of the U.S. dollar and South African rand however have brought a measure of stability and the government's national budget for this year stands at $3.8 billion, with the economy projected to grow five percent. And, on the healthcare front, the government is acting. It wants to have the highest possible level of health and quality of life for all its citizens – and that means ensuring every Zimbabwean has access to comprehensive and effective health services. Currently however, if you don't have medical insurance in Zimbabwe, the method of payment is cash. There is no room for negotiation of terms. Levels of access are low. The result is a sorry state of affairs when it comes to affordable medical treatment. Key to improving this will be companies like Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI), a subsidiary of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMA S) "established in

Lenmed Health Bokamoso Private Hospital

The future of healthcare Lenmed Health Bokamoso Private Hospital near Gaborone is one of only two private hospitals in Botswana and it has been operational since January 2010, bringing state-of-the-art technology to provide the best possible patient care. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager Eddie Clinton Bokamoso Private Hospital is owned by Bpomas and run by Lenmed Health which also runs hospitals and other health facilities in South Africa and Mozambique, and the group is able to bring its industry-wide expertise of the world class facility, to offer patients the best of both worlds. Bokamoso Private Hospital caters to needs which had not previously been met in Botswana, a country which faces many challenges when it comes to health, burdened by HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The hospital is on the frontline and patients can expect the very best levels of treatment and will have the time and attention of medical specialists. With 200 beds, the facility boasts an incredible 60 specialists based permanently on site. "One of our unique selling points is the range of specialist services that we provide," says marketing manager Mmabatho Amelia Mokabedi, who told us that the Bokamoso Private Hospital can offer patients "a fully joined-up service" with specialisms in neurology, cardiology, endocrinology, haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, sports medicine, pathology and gynaecology. The hospital sports a cardiac catheterisation lab, an oncology and nuclear medicine unit, a dialysis unit and, of course, radiology, while it also houses a rehabilitation unit, an orthopaedic unit, ophthalmology, and has 24-hour accident and emergency services. "Our five operating

VDMV Property Group

Ahead of the curve VDMV Property Group currently has properties with a market value of R1 billion. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Stuart Shirra Industrial property is often-overlooked, traditionally considered 'dirty'. According to Fanie Botha, however, it is "the best inflation linked passive income generator to create long term wealth". Mr Botha is part of the team at VDMV Property Group, a South African property company with a focus on the industrial market mainly in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The group is gaining momentum and was formed by Izak van der Merwe in 2003. It has, over the years, expanded into property management, leasing, sales, joint venture partnerships, turnkey contracts and project facilitation. In 2008, VDMV entered into a joint venture with Standard Bank Properties to procure 35 hectares of vacant land for development. The profits from this venture are being reinvested into a new R500 million development of 96 hectares – Brackengate Business Park. There is another R100 million portfolio in Johannesburg. "It has been an interesting few years," says Botha, who came in to help take VDMV to the "next level". "Over the past five years, our strategy has been to structure and consolidate the business to an extent and we bought the parcel of land in 2008 to plan, service and develop it. We've just gotten out of the red with that. Now it is about what lies ahead." Botha explains that the structure of industrial and commercial leases in South Africa is fairly unconventional compared with Europe and the U.S. In South

Airtel Sierra Leone : Connecting Sierra Leone

We talk to the Managing Director of Airtel Sierra Leone, who tells us more about the telecoms giant and meeting demand for data services.

Safaricom : Growing Outwards

Safaricom is one of the leading integrated communications companies in Africa with over 17 million subscribers, as well as sponsoring concerts, sporting events alongside the Safaricom Foundation, which is ten years old this year.


Q&A: Weatherford Oilfield services company Weatherford operates in more than 100 countries and employs more than 50,000 people worldwide. With a product and service portfolio that spans the life cycle of a well, it is positioned to meet the ever-evolving needs of the oil and gas industry. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Weatherford is an oilfield services giant that needs little introduction and its international businesses are likely to be key growth drivers in the future, with expansion in Sub-Sahara Africa in particular. Africa Outlook recently talked with Weatherford's Business Development Manager: Wireline Minerals, Blake Smith. It is his job to regularly review the African market place and we asked him a series of questions centred on business performance, market trends and growth potential… Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Could you start by giving me a brief introduction to the company in your own words? At its root, slimline logging entails the acquisition and interpretation of data from small-diameter boreholes to evaluate asset potential and inform critical operational decisions—whether the target resource is coal, minerals, or unconventional hydrocarbons. The company's slimline logging capabilities range from standard log acquisition and interpretation to specialised services such as borehole cross-correlation, geotechnical mine planning, ore mapping and stratigraphic well logging. Weatherford, a Swiss-based, multinational oilfield service company, is a premier provider of slimline logging services to the mining sector around the globe with a major focus throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The regional entity of this global service company is Weatherford UK Ltd (SA Branch), with

Gulf Power

Kenya given energy boost Gulf Energy Ltd., a market leader in the supply of crude oil and refined products in the East Africa region, is part of a consortium building Gulf Power, an 80 megawatt power plant southeast of Nairobi. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Sheridan Halls Kenya has a booming economy and a growing appetite for energy but has often been held back by a crippled energy supply line that is forever at the mercy of the elements and frequent power cuts.m Thankfully, Kenya's electricity generating capacity received an 80 megawatt boost when a new private power project sponsored by local investors, namely Gulf Energy Ltd (GEL) and Noora Power Ltd, broke ground earlier this year. It is due to be completed in the next 12 months and Gulf Power (GPL), an independent power producer, will produce power from a thermal power plant in Athi River. Gulf has signed a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power Company for purchase and distribution of the electricity it will generate and the plant is being built in such a way that it can also use natural gas – important as there are some prospects of natural gas production in Kenya. The project is one of three Independent Power Projects for which the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, the national transmission and distribution company, had sought Expressions of Interests in June 2009. The added electricity capacity will go a long way to boost power stability on the grid especially in areas around Nairobi. "The country's installed capacity is hugely

Pouch Dynamics

Driven by innovation Africa Outlook talks to packing entrepreneur Heinz Pospech, the founder of much-respected Pouch Dynamics. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Tom Cullum Heinz Pospech is the man behind Pouch Dynamics, a South African company that has become a well-established manufacturer of top-quality bags and pouches for either large or small runs and which differentiates itself as a supplier of "innovative" pouches. His story began well over a decade ago when he quit the corporate packaging world at 34 and set about establishing his own company and fortune. "I had a background in the flexibles arena and started with pouches I thought would be profitable," Pospech explains. The journey started with an Iverslee pouch-making machine and in January 2000 the first three-sided pouch came off the line. Today it's one of several lines at Pouch Dynamic's current home, a purpose-built cutting-edge facility in Capricorn Park, Muizenberg. "It was touch and go in the early years but soon we secured business with some national companies and we started to grow, especially in the biltong, window putty and fresh produce markets. "Over the years we've turned out over 100 million bags," he says. A focus on customer requirements and a flexible approach has stood the company in good stead and reflects a large list of both local and export customers. Owner-managed Pouch Dynamics is a company continually pushing the envelope and current capacity is ten million pouches per month. "I think it was in 2003 that we bought a Nishibee pouch-maker which opened the door to bigger

Aveng Manufacturing

Aveng hones its manufacturing skills JSE-listed diversified infrastructure company Aveng has regrouped its manufacturing business units into a more relevant and aligned operating division. Africa Outlook learns more. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Tom Cullum Aveng is one of South Africa's top diversified engineering and construction groups and like other building firms in Africa's top economy it has grappled with sluggish demand. But it has responded and has regrouped certain business units into more relevant and aligned operating groups. Aveng Manufacturing used to have four business units and now consists of six - namely Aveng Manufacturing Automation and Control Systems (ACS), a leader in South Africa in the field of process control instrumentation, process systems solutions, machinery health monitoring equipment and services and engineered fire and gas detection systems and solutions; Aveng Manufacturing Infraset, which manufactures concrete products for the infrastructural market – from rail to landscaping; Aveng Manufacturing Duraset, which manufactures steel and concrete products for the mining industry; Aveng Manufacturing DFC, a manufacturer of valves for the water, effluent and the mineral processing industry; Aveng Manufacturing Lennings Rail Services, which builds a sophisticated range of rail machines and constructs and maintains railway lines for its rail customers; and Aveng Manufacturing Facades, a specialist division that offers the design, manufacture, supply and installation of curtain walling over cladding systems and specialist shop front glazing solutions. Facades and ACS are new kids on the block, so to speak, added to an operating group which aims to become the "leading supplier of products, services and solutions to

Dale Spiral Systems & Bakery Automation

On the rise Dale Spiral Systems and Bakery Automation are specialists in plant bakery and freezing systems. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Tom Cullum Dale Spiral Systems and Bakery Automation is the brainchild of Christopher Dale. Founded in 1999, the Johannesburg-based company's success has been remarkable. Its first order for equipment was for two double drum spiral coolers for Albany bakery in Germiston and first freezer order was for IQF chicken portions and was awarded by Tswana Pride, a Botswana-based company. From these humble beginnings it has achieved some incredible things. "I was working in the petrochemical industry in Australia and I returned back to the UK," says British-born Mr Dale. "On my arrival a new company had started up called Triphase of which I was one of the first employees. Slowly, over 13 or 14 years, we built that company up to be quite a successful British company of which I became the works director. They then secured three large contracts in South Africa and at this point my wife, who is British but lived in South Africa, and I jumped at the opportunity and we ended up in the country with Triphase. But promises, promises, it didn't work out and I eventually started my own company." When forming Dale Spiral Systems and Bakery Automation, his goal was not just to branch out alone. He had a bigger, grander picture. "It wasn't just a case of going it alone," he says. "I had done all the hard work on the sales front for 20 months

Open Foods

Open wide! Open Food provides catering to the aviation industries and a broad range of clients, big and small, across South Africa. we caught up with managing director Tamar Klonarides to find out what makes the company tick. Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard Project manager Jason Gilkes Open Food is a catering company which runs 360 days a year at nine different facilities, and has recently added a night shift. It has been specialising in the aviation, hospitality and corporate catering fields; yet can cater for both big and small events. "We believe that the days of the canteen are over, and dull, stodgy mass produced canteen food are a thing of the past. there is no reason why food for corporates needs to be mass produced and of inferior quality. You can create wonderful, fresh and healthy food at good prices," says Managing Director Tamar Klonarides. The company has been making waves serving a wide range of high-quality, good-value food to a wide range of clients. "our greatest strength is our diversity of skills," she says. "Not only are we able to cater for events ranging from ten to 3,000 people, but we have a manufacturing division servicing the food wholesale and retail industry, and we have a Corporate management team who specialise in managing Food and Beverage requirements for several corporate facilities." that sounds like quite a lot of different scales to work along. How does open Food adjust? "We are still a very customer driven company, where personal service is our key selling point." And


The Brand of Brands A restaurant group dedicated to bringing the best F&B brands and concepts to Africa, Eat'N'Go feeds your needs. Writer Chris Farnell Project Manager Jason Gilkes Food is big business and in a crowded marketplace few things are more valuable than a recognisable brand. Having a strong brand means customers know exactly what to expect when they buy your products, as well attaching a certain amount of cultural cachet to the food you sell. This is why Eat'N'Go is in such an excellent market position. They have built the brand that other brands choose to market their franchises to Nigeria, as well as elsewhere in Africa. Jean-Claude Meyer is the CEO of Eat'N'Go. "We are a company set to deliver our brands to Nigeria and the West Coast of Africa," he tells us. "We currently have ten outlets open, and we hope to build another six or seven next year." He sees the company's potential lying in its ability to bring widely known international brands into its own markets. "We are bringing international brands to the African continent," Meyer says. "The African consumer is attracted to these brands because we're constantly seeing them in our imported media. You see these brands on TV all the time but they are rarely available, so we bring these brands here." Having access to these brands is important to Eat'N'Go, which describes its mission as being "to become the premier food operator in Africa". The company entered the Nigerian market in September last year, with promises that

Season To Season

The spice of life Season To Season is a leading manufacturer of dry savoury, sweet blends and wet sauces. We talk to founder Ronel Venter. Writer Chris Farnell Project manager Jason Gilkes At some point everyone dreams of packing in their day job and going into business for themselves. But very few people have it in them to actually go ahead and realise that dream. One of those precious few is Ronel Venter. Season To Season is, as the name suggests, a seasoning company. They make seasoning for the food industry, specialising in savoury flavours and supplying the snack food industry as well as for fast foods, recipe dishes, stocks and spices and more. However, while the company is currently undergoing a meteoric rise, it started as nothing more than a pipe dream. "I was a sales director at McCormick," the charismatic Venter says. "Then the company got new management and I realised that what I wanted was a smaller more intimate vibe. So I left the company and after about a year and a half I started my own company." That is how Season To Season came to be. So then comes the instant success story, right? Not quite. "It wasn't like Edison and his lightbulb, there was a long process of trial and error and experimentation," Venter explains. "I found a company close to me that let me have access to their factory after hours. After a year I outgrew them and started my own factory. And after two years I moved to a