Candela Luminescence is on a mission: saving the environment one light bulb at a time.
Based in Robertsham, south of Johannesburg, the company manufactures light-emitting diode (LED) lights that it supplies to the likes of chicken farms, mines, Makro stores and Waco Industries. These LED lights include highbays, downlights and flat industrial lights, and can last up to 50 000 hours – or six years of continual use.
A clear market need
Candela Luminescence is confident that its green energy solutions can help households and industry players save up to 70 percent of energy consumption.
“[LED lighting] is the most obvious form of energy savings because by replacing conventional lighting with LED lighting, one can save up to 70 percent of energy consumption. So not only are we reducing our energy consumption but we are also reducing our carbon footprint,” explains Fleur Honeywill, the managing director.
In December 2012, Candela Luminescence turned to MCEP for funds to scale the company.
“We applied for an industrial working capital facility. We also applied for funds to enable us to purchase new equipment and machinery when we require. The amount of the working capital facility is close to R3 million and the other fund [R2 million] enables us to purchase machinery such as pick and place machines which are high-powered machines we use in our production line,” Honeywill says.
The funds were granted in early 2013, with the cash injection allowing the company to be far more competitive in terms of pricing and much more efficient in productivity, “bearing in mind that we are competing with cheap Chinese imports”, Honeywill points out.
Honeywill is full of praise for the MCEP lifeline. She believes the programme’s funds enable small companies like hers to grow production and easily gain access into the local manufacturing industry.
“And the more that local companies purchase South African-produced products, the more jobs we can create. So far, for example, for every 10,000 downlight LEDs that we produce we can directly employ 20 people who previously were unemployed or had no access to the job market.”
Increased production has enabled Candela to employ six more workers, five of whom are under the age of 35. “All six are black women,” she says.
The new employees have been trained and “multi-skilled” and are assured of an excellent future as LED lights producers and assemblers.
Mpho Sepeng, the finance and human resources manager, is another new addition to the workforce.
Sassy and confident, Sepeng’s daily activities include “taking bank statements, making payments, capturing the cash book and journals, interacting with third parties and reporting to management”.
“What I like about Candela is I get to give my input as far as finances of the company are concerned. I am also responsible for looking out for new talent and the main focus is on young people, specifically women,” she says.
Honeywill is optimistic about Candela’s future. It applied for the MCEP funds “at the right time, just when our business was at the point where we could prove the quality and workmanship of our products to our customers”.
“I believe the IDC is very responsible. It took a very, very quick amount of time to process our application. The team was very professional and very diligent and it’s been an extremely important development to the lifecycle of our business to ensure that these funds grow and sustain our business.”
Honeywill believes initiatives such as the MCEP help to grow the local manufacturing industry and, in the process, allows more people to see the benefit of buying local technology. “In that way, such initiatives will stimulate the economy and more employment will be created.”