About Our Founders
Mark Harper and Sbonelo Mbatha
As founders of PetroCONNECT, Mark and Sbonelo both have a wealth of experience in the energy industry. Having been involved in operating multiple sites and corporate affairs of major oil companies, our founders have identified the unique need for PetroCONNECT’s solutions given their objective view of the industry – seeing things from both a dealer and corporate perspective. With inspirational stories to tell, Mark and Sbonelo continue to offer inspiring leadership and guidance to the PetroCONNECT team and our partners.
The Journey of Sbonelo Mbatha and Mark Harper
A partnership set to lead, inspire and change perceptions.
Why did you start PetroCONNECT?
- As fuel retailers with over 20 years combined experience in service station ownership and management, we know what it's like to be in the shoes of a fuel retailer. We have also been ellected into leadership positions and commitees representing the interests if site owners or fuel retailers to corporates. It is this unique perspective that enabled us to see the need for a practical intervention that could help solve and streamline the challenges we’re all facing in the industry at the moment. We want to be part of the solution.
What makes PetroCONNECT Different?
- PetroCONNECT focuses on both existing dealers or site owners, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to enter the industry. Our goal is to make the right connections between these two market segements. We really believe that only by bringing everyone in the energy industry together, can we effectively lead the industry into a more prosperous and sustainable future. With mentorship and development at the core of our values, one of PetroCONNECT's main differentiators is our willingess and passion to empower people with the practical skills they need to enter the industry succesfully by means of facilitating workshops, theoretical training, on-site practical internship programs and readiness programs through PetroCONNECT Academy. We also believe that our approach and holistic solutions are meaningfully different to existing site owners or dealers - focussing on building long-term relationships and connecting the right people as opposed to a transactional focus.
What makes your business partnership a success?
- Having been through the challenges of forming a new partnership and understanding the pressures and changes involved, we believe that celebrating our unique strenghts, differences and perspectives to be one of our key strenghts. It is evident in the people we have hired to build our brand and the culture we have instilled in the PetroCONNECT team where we focus on promoting values of inclusivity, empowerment and mentorship. We hope to inspire others in the energy sector to embrace change as we have in PetroCONNECT.