MATSAPHA – Leaving his E1.6 million home, relocating from South Africa (SA), and starting a business in Eswatini, has turned out to be the best decision that Thamsanqa Mdluli has made since 2016.
This was after Mdluli, who is the founder of Acero Steel in Matsapha, was announced the regional winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EYA) in the Manzini Region.
This was during the EYA Awards 2023 Manzini Region, which took place at Esibayeni Lodge yesterday.
The company deals with the manufacturing of steel window frames, wooden door frames, laundry lines, and reinforcements. It also manufactures steel products according to a customer’s needs.
Mdluli shared that he worked at the mines from 1984 until 2016 when he retired. He revealed that he had a certificate in Mechanical Engineering, and was responsible for quality control and maintenance of workshops in the mines.
“After having retired from the mining sector, I bought shares from a company that was involved in the trade of door frames.
“I then did my research, where I consulted the then Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA), to ascertain if there was a company that was involved in such trade, and found that there wasn’t.
“I then asked for a report on the demand for frames, which I got. I was shocked that it was worth millions of Emalangeni,” Mdluli disclosed.
He further shared that at that time, he was residing in SA with his family. Mdluli mentioned that he had purchased a house worth E1.6 million, but engaged his children whom he told of his plans to relocate to Eswatini to start a life there and establish a new business.
“One of my children decried that they would be worse off, but I was resolute and insisted on my decision,” he said. Mdluli elaborated that he then established Acero Steel in 2016, which was registered by SIPA. He mentioned that the Small Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO) granted him land, which was 432 square meters.
The entrepreneur alluded to that sometimes there was a stigma that was attached to working in the mines. Nonetheless, he said from the stigma, he grew and overcame it by establishing his business.
Mdluli shared that he was under the SEDCO incubation, but when the time came for him to be independent, he was troubled by great pressure on how he would survive after the course.
Fortunately, he shared that he got acquainted with the commerce department, which gave him 7 000 square meters of land, which he relocated to and had since been operating on.