The ongoing success of WorleyParsons RSA’s industry-leading Enterprise Development (ED) programme reflects a real commitment to stimulate growth in the South African economy. Established in 2011, the programme is currently incubating 10 small businesses, most of which have enjoyed year-on-year growth in revenue, with a combined compound annual growth rate of 52% since inception. Together this group of small businesses has created a total of 104 jobs to date.

Two of the companies are enjoying particular success – Black Jills Engineers, a black women owned engineering and project management firm, and Gridbow Engineers & Technical Services, an electrical engineering company. Gridbow has received an Eskom Managers Award for Excellence for the successful completion of a substation refurbishment project in Mokopane. Black Jills, headed up by MD Lebo Leshabane, is predominantly a female technical crew of civil engineers providing its service to the likes of FNB. The company has branches in Midrand, Polokwane, Kimberley and Mafikeng.

WorleyParsons has partnered with Mike Pitsillis, a BEE consultant from MASMA Consulting, and specialists from Lean Enterprise Acceleration Programmes (LEAP) to deliver a comprehensive business assistance programme intended to drive sustainability and growth.

This is achieved through round-the-clock assistance with procurement, sales and marketing, budgeting, tender applications, accounting, administration, health and safety, as well as financial and legal advice provided by WorleyParsons.

All the entrepreneurs have access to technical support and skills transfer on a one-on-one mentoring basis from the WorleyParsons’ staff, who also assist with operational efficiencies and implementation of systems and processes like ISO and other quality management systems.

“What makes our ED programme unique is the direct involvement of senior WorleyParsons managers through a so-called ‘Shadow Board of Directors’,” says WorleyParsons CEO Digby Glover. “This Strategic Advisory Board meets regularly with the entrepreneurs to discuss issues of growth and strategy and to troubleshoot any obstacles they are encountering.”

From these meetings, specific interventions are arranged, like specialised training and workshops.

“What is also critical for the entrepreneurs is to assist them with gaining market access,” continues Glover. “That is why we also sponsor them to attend conferences like Mining Indaba, Energy Africa and SA Coal Processing.”

WorleyParsons still has place in its ED programme for additional small, blackowned businesses which are complementary to its own business scope and which meet a specific set of criteria. Interested parties are invited to visit its dedicated website at

Mining Weekly, 8 July 2015.