Lerumo IT Solutions, the Johannesburg-based MultiChoice-partnered television solutions company, is looking to expand its operations to other cities in South Africa after forming partnerships with three companies.
Lerumo IT Solutions is one of the 16 companies part of the Micro Enterprise Development Organisation’s (MEDO’s) startup programme vying for a business trip to the United Kingdom (UK) next month as part of the International trade Programme (ITP) sponsored by British Telecom (BT).
Speaking to HumanIPO, Vusi Hlatshwayo, manager of Lerumo IT Solutions, said the name means “spear” in the Tswana language and “was inspired by the drive for a breakthrough after having registered three companies and failing dismally in all of them”.
He said the logo of the company represents “breaking barriers that hinders entry into the IT fraternity.” Lerumo was officially launched in June 2008.
Hlatshwayo said Lerumo’s prime function is IT networking, and satellite, terrestrial and internet television (TV) maintenance and monitoring. He said further Lerumo also specialises in the sourcing, delivering, installing, and support of the best ICT equipment and solutions available for small to medium businesses and the public.
Hlatshwayo includes Lerumo in the SMME classification and said the firm has benefitted from the MEDO program because it understands the challenges SMME’s face.
“Lerumo started off as an infrastructure installation and maintenance company, but got a contract from MultiChoice to be an agent… offering customer support to MultiChoice clients,” said Hlatshwayo.
He said the challenges faced when setting up Lerumo included securing funds required to launch and “the dire skill shortage in South Africa, which makes it difficult to both attract and retain skilled talent.”
Compliance will legislative requirements of the country, the competitive environment, regulations, and the lack of government capacity required to properly support SMME development.
Regarding expansion, Hlatshwayo said: “With new partners such as Openview HD, NewWeb, Freevision, and [with] digital terrestrial [TV] coming in, we are looking into extending our foot print not only in Johannesburg, but in other provinces, [such as] the North West and possibly Mpumalanga.”
In terms of sourcing the best ICT equipment, Hlatshwayo said it is a big challenge due to competition with larger companies able to buy products in bulk, thus sell the products for cheaper.
He said further the import and duty costs are another major hindrance for the sustainability of an SMME such as Lerumo.
“Government regulators such as ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) sometimes makes it so difficult to bring in equipment from Asia and other countries,” said Hlatshwayo.
Regarding Lerumo’s participation in the MEDO program, Hlatshwayo said: “We appreciate MEDO’s efforts in enabling or setting a platform to ensure that SMMEs realise their full potential. Thank you to all stakeholders, BT, USB, the City of Cape Town, [and] especially HumanIPO in the work they do in profiling SMMEs.”