Stellenbosch Entrepreneur of the Month

Keep cool and learn from your experiences, says Garnet Christians, Founder of Acu-Temp


Garnet Christians can’t sit in an office all day: he likes to be hands-on, meeting with clients, drawing up quotes and physically doing the work for his co-owned temperature-controlled monitoring and calibration business, Acu-Temp

He founded the business in 2014 along with two others and has grown the business year-on-year since inception. Acu-Temp provides temperature-controlled monitoring instruments from local and international suppliers and performs calibration, repairs and support services in the cold chain industry.

Stellenbosch-based, Acu-temp (Pty) Ltd provides temperature-controlled monitoring instruments from local and international suppliers and performs calibration, repairs and support services in the cold chain industry. (Photo by Lizelle Lotter).

“I matriculated in 1995 and worked for a couple of companies where I was a tester then at another company, I was working on the calibration lab and did testing and installations. In 2014, two of my other friends and I started Acu-Temp because I saw a gap in the market, so I decided to start my own business,” explains Garnet. 

Building the business from strength to strength

Garnet is a Stellenbosch local and calls Jamestown home, but he says Acu-Temp’s clients are varied with most of them coming from the Grabouw area. 

“My biggest clients are based in Durban, which is mostly the big export companies because when it comes to exporting, the temperature is important.” 

Acu-Temp clients come from a range of industries that include cold storage facilities, hospitals, laboratory and industrial businesses, abattoirs and even Stellenbosch University. 

The business has gone from strength to strength over the last five years and, Acu-Temp has spent the past four years designing a logging system, which allows them to approach massive export businesses. Acu-Temp is also the country agent for Ebro Xylem, a Germany-based company. 

Garnet says his business is the only one in the country that employs a certified technician who can calibrate and service most of Ebro Xylem products.

Being successful has not come without challenges

“What I have learnt about going into business is to always identify the challenges you face right from the start and work on solutions before they become larger problems.”

Garnet believes building relationships with clients is integral to a successful business. 

He continues: “When I left the last company I worked for, I left with the biggest client, and it’s not because I’m good or anything, it’s just because I’ve built relationships with the people. It’s important to gain the trust of your clients and offer them a quality service.” 

Building on his entrepreneurial skillset

While COVID-19 hasn’t spared any business, Garnet says business is moving along.  “It was tough, and I could have given up, but I know with my skillset and the potential business has we could get continue to be successful,” he explains. 

While COVID-19 certainly slowed down business, Garnet hadn’t done much work since March 2019 because he was busy attending classes and studying towards a short course certification. 

“Last year I was fortunate enough to do a small business course through the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s Small Business Academy (SBA) Programme, and we learnt a lot of good business advice from the course. It was a pity I couldn’t do that before I started the business because I would have tried to find some other means of funding and did one or two things differently.”

Garnet is constantly looking for new opportunities to grow his business, while also continually building on his entrepreneurial skillset. (Photo by Lizelle Lotter).

What advice does Garnet have for any budding entrepreneur?

“Do the work yourself.” 

“Some people only start a business with the idea of making money as the sole purpose, but it can’t only be about the money. You need to invest in yourself like taking on short courses and ensuring that you have a good general knowledge of all the aspects of your business.” 

To find out more about Garnet and Acu-Temp visit https://acu-temp.co.za/