Kathu Biz had a quick interview with Cassela Jorge, Managing Director of Kathu Auto Tyres. Enjoy!
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
A: Well, I’m a humble guy, I want to create generational wealth so my children and my brother’s children don’t have to struggle the way I did. At that time I only had an N1 qualification.
Q: At what stage in your life did you decide to get into business?
A: I had a learnership at Kathu mine and after several promotions, I decided to strike out on my own, around 2013.
Q: What sets your business apart from other businesses in your industry?
A: We’re very customer centric. It’s important because we’re a small company competing with big business.
Q: What has been your driving force as an entrepreneur?
A: As I mentioned before, I would like to leave wealth for my family when I’m gone. I have always had a passion for cars and it dovetails very well with my business.
Q: How did you come up with the name for your company? How easy or difficult was it?
A: It was a little bit difficult but we finally decided to use the initials of my name, my wife’s and the twins’. (The name of the company is CK & IJ Trading and Project (Pty) Ltd)
Q: What kind of culture exists in your organisation, and how did you establish it?
A: I trust the guys who specialise in their fields. We’ve been very innovative in terms of processes and systems. When a we employees took advantage, we had to limit their freedom a bit.
Q: What does your business do? What products or services do you offer?
A: We do tyres, brakes and minor services.
Q: How has being an entrepreneur affected your life?
A: It’s been lonely at times. It’s also been hard because we can’t compete with the big companies. For example, when we want to buy machinery, we don’t have cash on hand – that slows down our growth. Banks don’t easily lend entrepreneurs money, and the mines look at our assets, so it’s difficult to get work from them (mines). There are also good times.
Q: Would you change anything in terms of your journey in business?
A: I would start at high school level and choose the right subjects. School doesn’t prepare you for running your own business. I think our business would have been ten years ahead if I’d had that foundation.