Tim White, CEO Profica on ‘The Big Small Business Show’, 2014: ‘The opportunities are in Africa. 18 months ago, 15% of our work was outside South Africa. Today 35% to 40% of our work is outside SA. This is being led by multinationals expanding into Africa and SA businesses who want to grow; and for them growth is on the continent.’
Five years ago, Profica was featured on Business Day TV’s ‘The Big Small Business Show’ which highlights SMEs and entrepreneurs. Tim White spoke about Profica’s beginnings in 2005 when the company consisted of four young guys with not much more than a cell phone, a laptop and an appetite to succeed. The group went out and presented to property funds and blue chip developers. White recalls, “I think that they saw these young guys and thought, we’ll throw them a bone and help them out. We delivered on our first project and then our second, and continued to deliver successfully from there.”
In the show a client states that Profica’s success comes from their endurance: “Once a project is completed, everyone tends to run a mile, whereas the Profica team will always be there, five years later. If there is an issue they will be there to help resolve it, which is one of their key success factors.”
Tim White recalls the challenge to sustaining growth following the abrupt halt in the construction and property boom in SA in 2008/9. “We had some legacy projects but we had to ride the cycle, providing the same services in a tougher environment.”
Now, five years on from White’s statement about the burgeoning opportunities in Africa, momentum on the continent continues to grow. Having read the market correctly, Profica remains exceptionally well placed to deliver for clients across the continent, with teams embedded in key hubs beyond SA that include Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the West to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Tanzania in the East; and more recently in Mauritius.
In addition to reading markets, Profica also recognized early on that developing and supporting talent would be a critical factor for the company. In a segment of the show, a young Black female project manager weighs in on working at the company and describes an ethos of openness and learning. “For me, joining the company was both a learning and training curve. The company said to me, ‘go for it’ and I was given the support. One of the values in Profica is that we need to be open, from management through to the lowest position, and this is what makes you feel part of the team.”