FRANCISTOWN: As a former boilermaker in several local mines, Bianca Ramatebele uses her know-how and creativity to make ends meet through a welding and fabrication business.
Speaking to Business Monitor, the ‘Iron Lady’, Ramatebele said that she started her company after years of service in the mining industry as a boilermaker. She said that she worked as a boilermaker in reputable mining companies such as Tati Nickel mining company, Karowe Mine, Sowa Mine and others on a contract basis.
According to the professional female boilermaker, sometimes back when her contract was not renewed she decided to venture into a welding and fabrication business. She added that she tested the waters in the welding and fabrication business six years ago but failed during its inception due to the economic disruption in the smoking town. She said that the closure of BCL Mine and being the new kid-on-the-block in the male-dominated market contributed to facing a lot of challenges leading to emotional distress hence she decided to quit the business. The welder stated that after five years of ceasing their business operations she took a deliberate decision to re-open last year.
The steel entrepreneur said their business was boosted financially by CEDA (Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency) and they were back in business. She said that with the experience she has in welding and fabrication, she has always dreamt of being the first woman to dominate the business which is mostly operated by foreigners. Ramatebele revealed that: “My highest qualification is an NCC in welding and fabrication from acquired from Selebi Phikwe Technical College". She further said that even though their business is doing well, their greatest challenge is the shortage of and high costs of materials from local hardware’s who are the major suppliers. She indicated that they use window section Lfx7, which is a heavy-duty material while local manufacturers use window section Lf7, which is a light-duty material, which makes them different from their competitors.
The resilient entrepreneur said that she aspires to expand her business and tap into the mining industry. She added that she also plans to be the biggest supplier of all steel window frames to local hardware in order to block international products. She shared that currently Cubre Metalworks has created employment for 12 young Batswana and wishes to employ more as they expand in a few months to come.