With entrepreneurship in their blood, three siblings are stopping at nothing to make their dreams come true and to take their parent’s building contracting legacy to great heights.
In fact, from a very young age Tenille Pearce and Justin and Dane Thomson knew they wanted to follow in their parents’ footsteps. They recall selling chips and iced lollies to children from a tuck shop their mother ran from home during the school holidays. They later went on to complete their tertiary education so as to complement the family business. Tenille became a quantity surveyor, Justin studied for a National Diploma in Building and Dane acquired a BCom in marketing.
“We had the advantage of being able to learn from a young age what it means to be a business owner and it stood us in good stead through the ups and downs and the learning curves. It also meant that we were absolutely clear about what we wanted to achieve,” says Dane.
The family business was started from a garage and the dream was kept alive for 17 years by the siblings’ parents, James and Lorna Thomson. When the 2008 global economic recession struck, the threesome decided it was time for change.
“The recession was the catalyst which fast-tracked our succession plan and prompted us to make things happen. We started to set up our own business and launched Judante within our parents’ operating infrastructure in 2011.”
Dane recalls the tough decision to liquidate the family business and to let business sense prevail by building something new on “the goodwill and sweat equity” to which their parents dedicated their lives.
“We were inspired by the legend of the phoenix and believed that something would rise from the ashes and grow from strength to strength.
“We took over 18 staff members from the previous business, bought our own vehicles and established our own operating infrastructure, and formally started trading in October 2012. We had a shared vision and knew that we could get there.”
Their passion and commitment to pursuing their dream paid off and today Judante Building Solutions is a successful building and maintenance family business in their home town, Heathfield, in the Western Cape.
Judante currently employs 38 permanent staff members, 14 temporary staff members and three interns. It has a committed focus on HR, marketing and succession planning, as the brothers want to build a sustainable business for the future.
“Our vision is to grow our staff and enable them to take over from us should this be necessary. We won’t always be here, but the business needs to continue for decades to come,” says Dane.
Given the trio’s track record, anyone would agree that this dream has a rather good prospect of being realised.