A decade ago, just as the energy revolution was kicking off, Tebogo Chegodi saw a gap for an IT company targeting the energy sector with smart applications and infrastructure. Today, Makgaji Telco and Tech is a wholly black-owned IT company with an impressive track record in both the public and private sectors. In 2016, the company was selected for Accenture’s Enterprise Supplier Development programme.
In his own words, Tebogo takes us on a wild ride as an entrepreneur straddling the divide between the energy and ICT sectors.
I was convinced by a fellow named Pheko Masebe to get into the IT game. I was hanging around IT guys all the time, hearing all sorts of exciting things. Pheko saw something in me and gave me an opportunity in IT systems support at Metrorail.
I knew I needed to upskill fast, so I did some short courses in IT systems and worked sales in organisations like TSS and EOH until 2010 when I clicked that there was nothing stopping me from starting and growing something myself.
I clicked that there was nothing stopping me from starting and growing something myself.
In 2012, I spotted an opportunity to design custom solutions for the energy sector, and Makgaji was born. Our focus was on revenue and metering of energy utilities, and we partnered with a Chinese company to install smart meters into various local municipalities.
Being an entrepreneur, you need to get used to the ups and downs, being screwed, learning lessons the hard way. Growth is about being able to endure the pain involved. Not all storms are bad – some come to clear your path.
That’s why I appreciate having a big brother like Accenture on the road with me. They have helped me relook my strategy in terms of the changing market, and to be open to aligning with new partners. The market shifts every day – you need to move with it.
The market shifts every day – you need to move with it.
Partnerships can be powerful, especially for small businesses who can adopt the processes of the bigger partner. As for now, success might not be obvious, but I have taken my business by the collar and believe that by getting stuck in on every level, in five years’ time, Makgaji will be a strong national player with a unique niche where ICT and energy converge."
Tebogo’s vision: Within 5 years from now, for Makgaji to become a strong national player with its unique niche – where energy and ICT converge