Taking new industries to higher ground

Taking new industries to higher ground

Ario is an engineering, manufacturing company that manages a very well-diversified portfolio of high-tech projects. The company has its own on-site manufacturing warehouse where engineers develop and assemble turbine inverters and industrial rectifiers. The business’ clientele include multinational corporations who use high-tech industrial capacity inverters, such as telecommunications companies and engineering companies. Ario was re-established in 2013 by its two founders, Dr. Ramatsela Masango, who is the company’s chairman, and Mr. Louis Heyns, who holds the position of Managing Director. Masango received her Phd in Nuclear Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University, while Heyns holds a Phd in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pretoria.

The company currently has a contract to export manufactured inverters to Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in Europe, and has previously provided services and products to Neotel and Telkom. Initially, Ario was an engineering consulting business, until the two founders decided to migrate to technology production. “We decided as a business to move away from consulting services, to product manufacturing so that we do not rely on just one stream of business income,” Heyns said. However, this change of strategy needed strong financial injection, and that is when Ario approached the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which assisted them with a R65 million business loan in 2018.

“In order to supplement the IDC funding, we had to inject R45 million of our own capital into the project,” Masango said. The IDC financial support enabled the company to set up its on-site manufacturing facility and sustain its operations as working capital. The company currently has 40 employees and expects to expand across the country and create more jobs. If the expansion plans are successful, the company has potential to create up to 200 jobs.

“The IDC funding solved our greatest concern and has enabled us to move towards the next phase of our business in product development,” Masango said, “The financial support came at the right time because our financial capital was running low, and we are in a space where our clients need us to supply them with finished products before they make payment, which means working capital is very important for us,” she added. “We are planning to expand the business from just the head office, to a number of production points across the country”. Ario’s Tidal Turbine Inverters are state of the art power generators that are easy to install, generate no harmful greenhouse gasses and harvest renewable energy with very little environmental impact.

Ramatsemela previous held the positions of Senior Manager for Safety and Licensing on the PBMR Fuel Plant project and Group Executive at Necsa. In her career, she has developed several business strategies and worked with teams to see those strategies through to implementation.

Ramatsemela has been a top outstanding performer all her life. She obtained her B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering cum laude. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to study towards a Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering and was awarded, at the same time the Fulbright Amy Biel award for being the most outstanding applicant that year. After completion of her Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering, Pennsylvania State University awarded her a scholarship to complete her Ph.D. This was in recognition of her contribution to the Nuclear Engineering department during her Masters studies. The American Nuclear Society Students Conference in 2003 also awarded her with the “Best Presentation Award” for delivering the best presentation at the conference amongst all Nuclear Engineering students from across the United States.


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