Tuesday, March 5, 2024

From selling fake jeans on eBay to supplying Africa with mining chemicals

Although the cost of Asian mining reagents is said to be attractive to today’s mining customers, the procurement process can be a long and arduous task, fraught with delays, cost uncertainties, and numerous administrative and logistical challenges.

Through his company, Kemcore, an entrepreneur from Botswana but based in China, Calisto Radithipa has since set up a procurement facility for mining companies around the world to use.

After a short stint in the UK where he worked for RBS bank, Calisto Radithipa made a move into China in 2005 where upon arrival he decided to venture into entrepreneurship.

Radithipa tells Sunday Standard that his first business in China was selling fake jeans from Shanghai market on eBay. He also recalls that like many other Africans, doing business in China then was restrictive as he did not have a legal work status.

“I then explored other business opportunities during the commodity boom. In 2007 I registered my first company in Hong Kong and changed focus to selling specifically mining chemicals to Africa and other mining regions like South America. Since then I have gained a lot of experience helping clients in the mining industry to procure mining chemicals from China.”

His LinkedIn profile shows that he has over 10 years experience in mining-chemical sourcing, procurement, and supplier auditing. He has personally inspected over 50 chemical factories in China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Philippines and the Czech Republic. Calisto has worked with diverse clients providing acquisition strategies to facilitate cost-effective, high-quality chemical procurement. As Co-Founder, Calisto drives Kemcore strategy and oversees the company’s global sourcing and supply chain management platform. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce with a major in Finance from Bond University, Australia.

On the other hand, Radithipa’s company, Kemcore, is a part of 300CC Asia Pacific Ltd, which has been involved in sourcing mining chemicals and equipment out of China and Asia since 2007. The company offers a wide selection of mining chemicals.

“Kemcore is your online agent of choice to buy explosives agents, flotation reagents, flocculants, solvent extractants, flocculants and dewatering aids -water and wastewater treatment chemicals.

With headquarters in Hong Kong and sourcing offices across China, Kemcore serves a large global client base, providing them with access to and end-to-end support for Asian-based mining chemicals manufacturers.

Radithipa field 5 questions from Sunday Standard reporter VICTOR BAATWENG

What are some of the key challenges that the business faced at inception? What are the company’s key challenges now?

We are a self funded business so we can do with cash injection to allocate more resources towards enhancing our platform, marketing and business development. Also since kemcore.com is a new way of sourcing for chemicals, most of the buyers have that “aha moment”…that it is so easy to actually buy quality chemicals from China without the usual frustrations. So i feel that, they might have mixed feelings whether they should engage us or wait.

BAATWENG: How do you intend to overcome your challenges?

Radithipa: Our platform has been extremely well received with some of our ‘model’ buyers – buyers that have long waited to have the same buying experience as offered by b2c websites. We continue to share and educate our target market of what can be achieved by taking advantage of Kemcore platform.

BAATWENG: Where do you see your business in the next five years?

Radithipa: We aim to be a true one stop shop for mining companies especially in Africa. 90% of all consumables are currently imported largely from China and overseas. We aim to deliver billions of dollars of service through our platform by aiding cost effective procurement. I can’t reveal future plans at the moment-partly in fear of being copied by someone with more resources.

BAATWENG: Any word of inspiration to budding entrepreneurs particularly in Botswana?

BAATWENG: Find your niche and be creative in what you are doing. At the same time realise that it’s not easy but it can be done. It’s only a matter of time. If someone promises you easy money run the opposite direction. I would also dare say that ONLY invest in businesses that you “know in and out” and can influence or have control of (profitability & growth).

For more information visit: www.kemcore.com


Read this week's paper