Brucol Global Development (Pty) Ltd

Winner of the Management of Technology award for 2017, category for emerging enterprises

Organic growth is best, whether for veggies or business

Many an emerging enterprise has come unstuck by biting off more than it can chew or, alternatively, skipping crucial growth steps. Bruce Diale, chief executive of Polokwane-based agricultural services company Brucol Global Development, has no intention of going down that route.

“When it comes to managing technology, something we do well is to have distinct timeframes for moving forward with the business,” says Bruce, a qualified soil scientist-turned-entrepreneur. “We operate on strict timescales and our technology process is based on what stage we are at in our markets.”

In its first four years, for instance, Brucol’s focus has been on marketing its water-efficient tower-garden technology, GardenIzly, in rural communities. “Our technology uses a minimal amount of water for growing vegetables, so we have been supplying to rural schools, farmers and households because they do not have easy access to water.”

Since water efficiency and food security are this market’s priorities, Brucol has been concentrating mainly on the basics: delivering and setting up the product so that the recipients can start growing their own vegetables without delay.  “There is no need for nice packaging; our market just wants us to deliver.”

Urban markets will have different priorities altogether, Bruce says. They will want attractive packaging, digital material, online purchasing facilities and courier delivery, among other things.

“We have already secured funding from Discovery to develop an interactive website to grow our concept to the next level, the urban market. But we will only take that next step into the urban market when the business is ready. When it is, we will hit the button.”

Brucol’s plans to move into the urban market will mean moving the company out of the emerging enterprise bracket and into a new stage of business development. That will inevitably mean upscaling its manufacturing process.

“As an emerging company, we found partners to manufacture our product for us, using our own mould and according to our specifications,” says Bruce. “As we grow, we will look at doing the manufacturing ourselves and, later, adding recycling to that as well.”

This is what managing technology is all about: handling first things first, but thinking ahead and preparing for the next steps so that when the time is right, it’s all systems go. We look forward to seeing GardenIzly making the rural-urban leap.

 

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