Black youth woman-owned RSC Avelo was named by Seifsa as the most transformed company in the industry last year. Its director attributes its success in difficult times to its involvement in renewable energy projects.

Johannesburg – RSC Avelo, South Africa’s only black woman- and youth-owned reinforcing steel and reinforcement steel manufacturer, which was officially launched on Thursday, managed to cash in on projects despite the dire global and local economic situation, which has rattled the country’s manufacturing, mining and steel industries. Avelo, which means to share in Tsonga, is focused on supplying the market with steel used in the building of bridges, dams and reservoirs. The company was established a year ago by director Mayleen Kyster.

“We are a young business, and we have done well. We moved from exempted macroenterprise, a business with a turnover of R10 million and below, to qualifying small enterprise, an entity with a turnover less than R50m, within a year of our existence,” Kyster said. “This was because while the company operated in a depressed market, it was involved in projects in the renewable energy space.”

RSC Avelo is 54 percent owned by black women with a minority stake held by multinational company RSC.

Right trade

It was named by the Steel and Engineering Industries ­Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) as the most transformed company last year.

Kyster’s message to young entrepreneurs was to choose the right trade and become experts. “I would not encourage anyone to enter the industry right now. Times are tough, businesses are closing down. There is space for young people and women. I would advise that they choose a trade and do it well. You never become a professional in your trade if you are all over the place.”

Seifsa chief executive Kaizer Nyatsumba said RSC Avelo launched at a time when the steel industry was battered.

“It happens at a time when manufacturing’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product has continued to shrink by about 1 percent a decade and the metals and engineering sector has continued to take a beating, with tens of thousands of jobs lost in the process,” Nyatsumba said.

The industry has been battered with high costs and the dumping of cheap Chinese imports undercutting local production and resulting in sector steel majors going into liquidation, resulting in thousands of job losses.

Nyatsumba said the South African economy had been stagnant, hardly growing this year, adding that the lobby group hoped next year would be much better. “Some companies are waiting to see in which direction the economy will turn and are planning to institute job cuts, which is not good for the country but the companies need to survive,” he said, adding that the fact that partnership between government, labour and business helped to fend off the downgrade was encouraging.

“As a country we have been our own worst enemy. We have scored own goals with Nenegate being one of those.”