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Case study – Former worker starts thriving supplier business

Case study – Former worker starts thriving supplier business


Jimmy Gumede

 

Jimmy Gumede, a former Gold Fields employee, started JEG Mining Service & Projects in 2006 with little more than a cellphone, his pension and an all-important construction contract at the No 3 Shaft of Kloof Gold Mine.

“Starting a business is about taking risks and I had to give up my salary and the mine house we were living in to pursue my aspirations, but I would not be where I am today if Gold Fields hadn’t empowered me by giving me my first contract,” he says.

Today, JEG employs six permanent staff and over 150 contractors from the local community, and in the past financial year reported turnover of R10 million. In addition to Gold Fields, the company lists Central Rand Gold, Uranium One and Harmony among its clients.

But Gumede’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges, chief among which was funding the business entirely from his own pocket. “I learned the importance of respecting your business enough to leave money in it when you are paid, instead of spending it all,” he says.

Landing contracts is another ongoing challenge and Gumede works hard to establish relationships with procurement officers through faceto- face meetings. “Some managers still prefer to go with large brand names in the construction industry. It’s frustrating because we know we can often deliver a better job, at a lower cost using local labour,” he says.

In JEG’s favour is Gumede’s vast experience in mining. “I’ve worked my entire life in this industry and I understand the requirements of every job we take on,” he says. He knows this specialist knowledge is a key differentiator and has wisely restricted JEG’s focus exclusively to the mining sector.