She is often considered a woman in a man’s world, but Marcia Mofokeng, owner of Alurcia Aluminium and Glass, says she relies on her skills to do the talking for her business.
Established in 2011, Alurcia specialises in the design, manufacture, installation and repair of glass and aluminium windows, sliding doors and shopfronts.
Based in Katlehong on the East Rand, Mofokeng, 33, turned the garage of her home into her workshop. No broken windows and doors go unattended in her neighbourhood. She also does business in other parts of Gauteng and in Mpumalanga.
Mofokeng was introduced to manufacturing and metal engineering through the Wispeco Enterprise Development Programme, where she studied on a two-year learnership from 2009 to 2010.
“The learnership came at the right time as I was unemployed. It introduced me to the technical aspects of manufacturing of aluminium.
“After two years of the learnership I decided to start my own business because I had grown to fall in love with the work. I knew this was something I was both good at and passionate about, she says.”
But the business world can be tricky: challenges such as capital and cash-flow can hinder any progress.
“I started the business without capital. We started as a consultation and customer-seeking initiative. We found customers, then partnered with companies that had equipment to do the jobs, and we shared equally the profit we made.
“While this was a way of building capital, it was not an adequate business formula. So we had to start looking for serious capital in order to establish ourselves as a business that could fully do all the required duties,” she says.
That financing came in 2013 when she entered the SABKickStart competition. She emerged as the overall winner with a total prize of R130000 in grant money and a six-months business mentorship programme.
This enabled her to buy machinery, power tools, hand tools and aluminium products.
“The business is currently three-phased: day-to-day repairs and installation of doors and windows for households; partnering with contractors who work on big construction projects; and designing of both doors and windows.”
Now employing just two full-time general workers, Alurcia aims to grow beyond its current trade.
Mofokeng explains: “We are working up capacity to becoming a supplier of aluminium exclusions hardware. There is a big gap in the availability of this material – small businesses in remote areas struggle to get access to the material.
“So we need to have a large storeroom for that and also a truck that can collect and deliver.”