Millionaire Sister Act
The Mkonza sisters have seen their Xuma Technology firm rack up growth rates of between 45% and 78% since 2010. We explore their secrets to success.
Xuma’s business is essentially laying fibre-optic cables for network operators like Dark Fibre Africa and municipalities via, for instance, an enviably lucrative contract with the Johannesburg Roads Agency.
The business offers any number of telecommunication infrastructure services including civil works. It was responsible for installing a citywide network of CCTV cameras in Johannesburg ahead of the 2010 World Cup, including the building of a server room which they now maintain.
They also managed to secure R11 million in funding from the Industrial Development Corporation’s Women Entrepreneurial Fund to begin work for Dark Fibre Africa, blowing, splicing and laying terrestrial fibre cable.
* “You find your strength through partnerships so don’t be afraid of them and of sharing the profits when you start out. We subcontract out to other companies all the time because we remember that partnering with bigger firms is how we managed to grow.
* “As entrepreneurs, we feel we have certain job-creation responsibilities. When we hire labourers for any civil works, we always look at who can we groom. We always try to hire workers from the area in which we are digging trenches, for example."
* “In the fibre optics industry, we have the choice of using machinery to blow fibre. But we choose manpower. It’s more expensive, but we’re proud South Africans and we’d like to contribute to a better economy. Doing business in this way and creating jobs also ensures you’ll be shortlisted for another contract with that client down the line. And everybody can do with a second contract.”
For more on the Mkonza sisters, turn to page 98 of the July issue of DESTINY