Sharon Eades began working in the metal refining and manufacturing industry at 19, without any formal qualifications or tertiary education. In 1994, after 15 years of learning everything on the job, she became one of the proud founders of Cape Precious Metals (CPM), which mainly refines and recycles precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Using everything from jewellers’ scrap to discarded computers and old photographic and X-ray film, CPM separates the precious materials from the dross using various techniques and technologies, which supplies the jewellery manufacturing industry.
Eades believes that learning by experience was the best way for her to start learning about the industry and run her own business
Eades believes that learning by experience was the best way for her to start learning about the industry and run her own business. “I understand everything so much better because I have worked with it,” she says.
Her company reflects this ethic, with on-the-job training and further education being strong focuses for her staff.
As part of becoming compliant with broad-based black economic empowerment guidelines, Eades created a staff trust that now owns 26% of the business. An award-winning entrepreneur, Eades says hard work, logic, having a product and company to believe in, as well as staff that share that vision, have made it possible to grow the company from three people to 65.
Last year Eades was an Emerging Entrepreneur finalist in the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Awards Programme.
— Lynley Donnelly