Take a listen to Kerry Motherwell being interviewed on Cape Talk.
“Nedbank Business Accelerator – with Cape Talk. Let us make your business more scaleable, robust and future proof.
John: “Time to introduce you to yet another business featured in Nebank Business Accelerator with Cape Talk in our Johannesburg studios. Pavlo Phitidis – Pavlo, today the business has a nice name Foxsolution Systems – What is it and why did you choose it?”
P: “John, Foxsolution Systems Engineering is a South African provider of on-site oxygen and nitrogen generators and they primarily serve the gold mining industry, the offshore industry, health care, wine production, controlled atmosphere stalls, water treatment and aquaculture applications throughout the rest of Africa. And the reason we selected this business is because it’s all homegrown. It’s homegrown technology, it’s homegrown fabrication, it’s homegrown software, it’s homegrown panels – it’s all local and it’s used very very widely. And Kerry, who is the founder, is absolutely no stranger to hard work. In my conversation with Kerry, you learn very very quickly
that hard work does pay – it certainly does pay. And I think that there’s a really good opportunity for us today, tonight on this show, to get more happening, not only in Kerry’s business, but in all businesses similar to it, that manufacture South African products, struggling to get accreditation necessary to expand and accelerate in local conditions. ”
J:”All right. Let’s bring Kerry Motherwell in now, managing member of Foxsolution Systems Engineering. Is that your big problem Kerry? Getting the products that you develop properly certified?”
K: “Yes, it’s a big problem – not so much on the industrial side but on the medical side. On the medical side we face huge challenges because the product that we produce is oxygen 92% which is Euro Pharmacopeia and the United States Pharmacopeia product and used widely overseas. But here in South Africa the (N?) Control Council seem to have stumbled over it as far as they don’t seem to have the right people on board to actually look at this product and be able to say that it can be released into the healthcare industry in South Africa. So you know, we’re sitting here ready to go with a cylinder filling plant, for example, that’ll fill cylinders for outlying areas, but we can’t use it because we’re hamstrung by, I won’t say local legislation here in South Africa, but the lack of and nobody knowing what to do next.”
J: ” Is this a business that you are kind of the sole inhabitor of or is there a group of companies with similar but competing products that
could band together and put more pressure to get the right stuff done?”
K: “Yes there are, but unfortunately, John, what we have found is that many of these small startups which are popping up all over South Africa, they are not actually operating within ambit of the law either because to be able to produce oxygen and to fill cylinders at high pressure, you need to be registered with SAQCC Gasses and if you go online to their website and you put the company’s name in, they don’t come up. So, you know, it’s one of these difficult situations where because of legislation, or lack of legislation, people are just doing it anyway. And unfortunately this actually can lead to situations where people end up breathing air instead of oxygen.”
J: “Alright Pavlo, we’ve heard that from Kerry Motherwell, over to you.”
P: “You know it makes for a very interesting debate because if I think back at the 31 businesses that I worked with in the States, John, the
the five top things that they focus on first off is compliance with legislation. And the process of becoming compliant with legislation has been adopted and adapted in certain sectors within the United States to be a competitive advantage. In other words, the process by which you can comply has been modernised and made easier – and I think that the same thing needs to happen over here. You know, I was having a look at the medical control council under the leadership of Professor Helen Rees who is a remarkable remarkable individual in terms of her achievements. She has an OBE, she is revered by the Department of Health and I think that the leadership and the foresight in the Medical Control Council is in a good place and space and I think that it would be a wonderful opportunity to bring the medical control council together with a number of businesses in the Western Cape – Kerry’s being one and the business that we looked at earlier with Lyndsey from Viva Line that manufacture the drip systems – all of those are products that are succeeding in the export markets but in the local markets, we’re struggling to find traction because the accreditation is just simply too complicated, too onerous, and it takes too long. None of these businesses that I’ve certainly spoken John, see compliance as a barrier. They absolutely believe in it and through Kerry’s own words, he says that it’s critical that we do meet these standards because if we’re going to become serious players, no only in the local market but abroad, setting standards and complying with regulation is a competitive advantage. And I would really like to see an opportunity get Prof Rees round the table with the new effort, the new drive, that’s coming out of the Western Cape, positioning itself nicely, neatly, through a lot of the effort put in by WesGrow as a medical devices manufacturing location. There are a number of them there – we featured a number of then and I think this is a great platform to get Prof Rees on board and for us to look responsibly at how to modernise the process of compliance with Medical Control Council.””
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