Building a professional, sustainable business has required determination and persistence from entrepreneur Seola Mashamaite, who established the only black woman-owned ISO 17025 SANAS-accredited calibration laboratory in SA – Montech Calibrations Services (MonCal) – in 2014.
Mashamaite has also trained personnel in this highly technical field.
When first taking premises at Riversands Incubation Hub in 2016, the formal address provided the platform for the accreditation and enabled this entrepreneur to land progressively bigger contracts.
This year, the company has seen good growth into the SADC region of Africa and recently into West Africa, where the majority of countries previously didn’t have calibrations infrastructure, now being put in place because of UNIDO project funding. South Africa was the only country in the region with these facilities and when neighbouring countries needed calibration certificates for exports to Europe (for example), companies like MonCal performed the technical work, since its certificates are globally recognised.
Countries such as Rwanda, Tanzania and Burkina Faso have eagerly been using MonCal’s services for their calibration. Unfortunately, the outbreaks of xenophobic violence in the last few months caused authorities in Tanzania to cancel a second trip for calibration services at the biggest National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Now that MonCal is in the fourth year of subsidised premises (at slightly more commercial terms), Mashamaite has the challenge of finding appropriate space to grow the business substantially from the solid base she has created. The nature of the business dictates that premises should be suitable for temperature and humidity controls as well as being easily accessible for clients, suppliers and team members.
Growth in the business has come from two sources: increase in both the number of clients thanks to Google Ads and the frequency of services delivered. Feedback from clients indicates that they value notices from MonCal advising that equipment is due for calibration.
Further growth will come from an extension of services to include electrical, mass and pressure metrology, which required Mashamaite to study further – something she and two of her employees succeeded in accomplishing between July and September this year.
The future is bright for this hard-working, determined entrepreneur who has taken advantage of some of the services offered by Riversands Incubation Hub while being an excellent example of a self-sufficient, committed businesswoman.