Caiphus Mokotedi was the first graduate of Ford’s Incubation Programme, launched in 2011. Image: Supplied.
Caiphus Mokotedi was the first graduate of Ford’s Incubation Programme, launched in 2011. Image: Supplied.

From golf caddy to business executive

By Paula Gruben Time of article published Jul 13, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG - Caiphus Mokotedi was the first graduate of Ford’s Incubation Programme, launched in 2011. 

From humble beginnings growing up in the village of Moruleng, just outside the north-east boundary of Pilanesberg National Park, he is now the chief executive of Zig Enterprise, a 100percent black-owned company which forms an integral part of the supply chain for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).

Mokotedi started working at the age of 14, first as a caddy, and later as a barman at Sun City Resort. He also started a family business in Rustenburg, which initially rented videos, and later expanded its scope to become a photo processor, printer, and internet café.

After finishing Matric at the JM Ntsime High School in Mogwase, Mokotedi went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Wits Technikon (now University of Johannesburg), and completed a Trainee Engineer programme at BMW's Assembly Plant in Rosslyn, before being hired as a Process Engineer for Widney Transport Components, which is part of the PG Group. “I was exposed to design, R&D, process engineering, production engineering, sales and marketing,” he says. “It was an excellent all-round learning experience.”

In 2010, armed with his National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, MAP (Management Advancement Programme - Wits Business School), and plenty of practical experience, Mokotedi spotted a newspaper ad. It called for aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to be part of South Africa's first broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) incubation programme in the brand new, purpose-built Automotive Incubation Centre at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant, east of Pretoria.


A public-private partnership between the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) and FMCSA, the world-class programme offers incubatees courses in SME management, entrepreneurial flair, self-motivation, effective people skills, sound business ethics, and a three-year National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

In 2011, the first intake of carefully screened incubatees - including Mokotedi - were partnered as sub-contractors with established component suppliers, who provided them with the technical assistance they required. These incubator companies worked through the pre-builds of the new Ford Ranger pick-up truck before actual production started. Mokotedi was partnered with Schnellecke SA to provide sequencing and logistics along the Ranger production line.

“In 2012 I registered my company with a name that is partly a tribute to “Zig” Ziglar, the amazing American author, salesman, and motivational speaker - a true entrepreneur,” says Mokotedi.

His big break came in 2015 when Ford and one of their tier one suppliers parted ways and Zig Enterprise was awarded the tender for the carmaker’s new Vehicle Personalisation Centre, situated adjacent to the Silverton Assembly Plant.

“I must say a big ‘thank you’ to Ford and the AIDC for having the vision to introduce the incubation programme. It provided all the necessary assistance I needed to establish my business.”

Various Original Equipment Manufacturers have expressed interest in establishing similar incubation centres, using Ford’s roadmap as a prototype.

Paula Gruben at GTB.


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