HE TRAVELLED to meet his first client on a bicycle, but those humble days are long gone for Nelson Mandela Bay entrepreneur Braddon McClelland, who is now leading the way in information technology (IT) support in Port Elizabeth.
The former Grey High School pupil is managing director of Network Associates – Computech IT in Cape Road and recently made it on to the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber's Top 40 Under 40 achievers' list.
McClelland, an accountant and BCom graduate from NMMU, established his company – which provides a wide range of support from server solutions to network installations – in 1997. He was still studying at the time.
His journey into the industry began long before he started the company. While still at school he was approached by someone who wanted him to supply him with computer equipment. "I couldn't let the opportunity slip through my fingers so I got on my bicycle to meet with him," said McClelland. His efforts paid off – and the meeting turned into the biggest deal he had yet made or has made since.
When he established the business he started it as a one-man show, but eventually grew it to where it is today, having 16 permanent employees. "We have grown to be one of the more well established IT support companies in the Eastern Cape.
"My accounting background has proved invaluable in the business field, and has given me the base to explore my passion for technology and IT."
He said IT was a constantly evolving industry. "No two days are the same, and just when one has mastered a particular product or solution, it is either outdated, or replaced with something new.
"This has resulted in us constantly having to perform self-reflection, and identify new opportunities in our market space."
He said the biggest challenges facing small businesses were skill shortages, motivating staff and cash-flow management. "Lack of clear government direction, and uncertainty surrounding economic policies in certain market segments is also problematic."
Although he was born and grew up in Port Elizabeth, McClelland has travelled extensively around the world. "This world travel has allowed me to bring back ideas, systems and knowledge that we could then implement locally."
He attributed his success to, among other characteristics, being a perfectionist. "I'm a perfectionist in what I do and, therefore, only give of my best. I have a very enquiring mind and like to stay up to date with the latest technology and world news, offering the latest and most advanced hardware, support and service to clients."