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Doing good while doing business

Bigen Africa scoops three of seven top CESA awards

Bigen Africa, a leading infrastructure development company with core capabilities in engineering, management consulting and project finance, was named the winner in three of the seven top categories at the prestigious annual awards event of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), held at Vodacom World in Midrand on 12 August 2015.

Amid steep competition, the well-established company received top honours in the Business Excellence, Mentoring Company of the Year and Best International Project categories, the latter for its work on the 360km North-South Carrier (NSC-2) regional water transfer system in Botswana.

Bigen Africa’s entries in four other categories also qualified for the final round of judging – Mentor of the Year, Young Engineer of the Year, the massive Steyn City residential project (project value R50 million to R250 million) and the innovative, “green” Wallacedene taxi rank (project value under R50 million).

Engineering Excellence

CESA is an organisation committed to furthering engineering excellence and the annual awards are the top highlight on the industry’s calendar. Sponsored by CESA’s long-time partner Aon, the awards celebrate innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism in the consulting engineering sector. The focus is on projects which advance infrastructure development both in South Africa and on the continent.

“The Bigen Africa team is extremely blessed to have received these awards for its contribution to ensuring sustainable development in Africa,” says Dr Snowy Khoza, Chief Executive Officer. “Bigen Africa is dedicated to ensuring excellence in its operations, changing the lives of millions of Africans and practising its creed of “doing good while doing business” on a daily basis. Receiving accolades such as these is therefore very gratifying and we as a company give all the glory and honour to God Almighty.”

The company has completed many cost-effective, sustainable infrastructure projects in South Africa and several other African countries, and is expanding its operational footprint on an ongoing basis.

Business Excellence

In its entry for the Business Excellence category, Bigen Africa highlighted various aspects of the business and operations as well as its vision of improving the quality of life of all through the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions. Central to the company’s success, in terms of both business achievements and expansion into Africa, is its value proposition to customers, governments and communities – to provide infrastructure development solutions through a holistic approach which encompasses in-house capabilities, strategic partnerships and off-taker needs to optimise project validity and add innovative and sustainable value to the full spectrum of services it provides. These range from feasibility studies through project preparation, management and implementation to development finance and ongoing asset management.

This approach supports the company creed of “doing good while doing business”, which includes channeling contract employment and procurement opportunities to local communities, and promotes the delivery of products and services in a way that reinforces key emerging public-policy priorities within sub-Saharan Africa. The capabilities and products of the company have been selected and developed to promote inclusive economic growth and human development.

“With its in-depth understanding of the infrastructure development needs experienced by African companies and its focus on excellence and capability through partnerships, Bigen Africa has delivered a strong financial performance in a year that was characterised by a weakening economic environment,” says Dr Khoza. “The majority of the company’s divisions have seen growth during the year under review, with revenue from engineering being the most significant contributor. This is attributable to mainly organic growth.”

The current five-year strategy, valid until 2016, is reviewed and sharpened annually by the board according to interim achievements, deviations and current issues in terms of the industry environment, financial growth and targets, marketing and brand build, client and customer relationships, company structure, company regional development, development finance capability and human capital strategy.

Best International Project

A testimony to the company’s creed of “doing good while doing business” was its involvement in the approximately R6 billion NSC-2 project which has demonstrated engineering excellence, enhanced regional economic growth and significantly improved quality of life in Botswana.

Due to robust economic growth, the Republic of Botswana developed a need for water augmentation by regional transfer from its water-rich northern resources. Bigen Africa was appointed by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources in 2007 as its Employer’s Representative for the conceptual design development, EPC tender documents and construction supervision of the regional water transfer system.

“The Botswana government recognises the importance of infrastructural investment as a key foundation for national, regional and local economic growth and development,” says Dr Khoza, “and that local content is key to ensuring a direct contribution to the growth of the national economy. As these priorities align with the business focus of Bigen Africa as well as its mission of ‘doing good while doing business’, the company is the perfect choice for this commission.”

Mentoring Company of the Year

Bigen Africa’s CESA awards entry for Mentoring Company of the Year reflects the high value it places on human capital development, as well as its efforts to advance young professionals, and empower and retain employees.

With a heightened awareness of talent and career management in the workplace, Bigen Africa has designed and implemented strategies which align business objectives with individual expectations of career success through the organisation’s Future Integrated Talent (FIT) Programme, a part of the Bigen Capacity Framework. The latter focuses on, amongst others, fostering dual-track career path recognition (management and specialisation), allowing clear methodology for progression and growth in the organisation, consideration of post readiness prior to progression to the next level, active short- and long-term mentorship in the company in line with all programmes as well as recognition of talent.

“Bigen Africa’s comprehensive strategy for developing its employees, along with its emphasis on service excellence, is a key component of successful business strategy,” says Dr Khoza. “This, combined with the company’s practice of building capability through effective partnerships, whether in the industry or with governments, empowers it for helping to meet Africa’s considerable infrastructure development needs.”