The young entrepreneur who topped the Eskom academy class. Nompilo Vilakazi. PHOTO: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - A 28-year-old entrepreneur from KwaZulu Natal has been recognised as the top achiever in the 2018 Eskom Contractor Academy.

Nompilo Vilakazi topped the class of 176 graduates with an average of 89 percent. The graduates are all either Eskom contractors or suppliers, or entrepreneurs who have participated in other Eskom initiatives.

 Among other things, Vilakazi’s company does electrical connections, MV/LV line construction, pole changing/installations, electrical maintenance, as well as safety campaigns. The company is based in Hillcrest, near Ethekwini and mainly services Eskom across KwaZulu-Natal.

She started the company in 2014 and also uses it to push one of her biggest passions, youth development and empowerment. Currently studying towards her Business Management degree at The Management College of Southern Africa (Mancosa), the ambitious Vilakazi knows the importance of empowering herself first before she can help other young people by motivating and creating jobs for them.

She said the Eskom Contractor Academy helped enrich and broaden her knowledge.

“I’m happy to be the best student in my class but more than anything else, I hope this excellence can spill into my business. As a young entrepreneur running a small business, I need to able to plan the execution of my projects well and know my way around the project and financial management side of things also. So this course has really helped in reminding me of how important that is and it is going to help me grow the business,” she said.

The eight-month academy course is one of the Eskom Development Foundation’s key initiatives and part of the organisation’s commitment to enterprise development, skills development, job creation and poverty alleviation.

The academy upskills people in project, people and financial management, business sustainability, safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ), supply chain management, legislation and technical acumen, which all form part of the modules.

Eskom development foundation chief executive Cecil Ramonotsi said the academy was an integral part of Eskom’s corporate social investment programme as it seeks to enhance the quality of life for South Africans.

“Many small and medium enterprises have benefitted as a result of their owners getting training from the academy, and some have even gone on to successfully secure contracts with Eskom. Since 2010, 645 contracts worth over R3 billion have been awarded to students/graduates of the academy. By equipping entrepreneurs such as Nompilo with the skills they need to build sustainable businesses, we believe that the country can begin to address some of its challenges,” said Ramonotsi.

- African News Agency (ANA)