Saab Grintek Defence-incubated electronics company marking 10-year anniversary

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Solve Direct Electronics (SDE), incubated on Saab Grintek Defence’s Centurion campus, is about to mark its ten-year anniversary, having been established in 2014.

The black-owned training provider has been spearheading the advancement of black-owned companies in the realm of electronics and electrical equipment manufacturing, it said in a press release.

Situated within Saab’s premises at Highveld Techno Park in Centurion, SDE was founded by Technical Director Neil Johnson and Managing Director Fatima Johnson. The company specialises in offering training and certification in a diverse range of IPC (global association for electronics manufacturing) accredited courses through multiple training mediums, enabling individuals to become specialists in electronic assemblies.

While SDE opened its doors with five clients on the books, the company has since developed a growing customer base across the country, particularly in the economic centres of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape.

“It is important to assess and understand your customer and industry needs. We had to do our research on how to infiltrate the different markets so that we can establish a presence as a company that specialises in offering unique skills development training,” Fatima said.

SDE’s journey has not been without its challenges. One of the most trying periods came with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Like many, the pandemic was one of the most challenging times for businesses like ours,” Neil said. The company faced a significant hurdle when they went through a five-month period with no income. Now, to accommodate their increasing number of trainees, they have plans to enhance their facilities by incorporating a hybrid/remote training studio.

Neil and Fatima benefited from the guidance of various business coaches at Saab Grintek Defence and even had the opportunity to accompany the Minister of Small Business Development to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) Expo as exhibitors. Their accomplishments extend beyond these experiences, including recognition at the NSBC Top 20 South African Small Business Awards 2019.

Fatima and Neil Johnson from Solve Direct Electronics.