About our founders

Mark Harper and Sbonelo Mbatha

Mark and Sbonelo founded PetroCONNECT based on their wealth of experience in the energy industry.

Having been involved in the operation of multiple sites and the corporate affairs of major oil companies, our founders have identified the need for PetroCONNECT’s unique solutions within the industry. Given their objective view of the industry, they can provide solutions from both a dealer and corporate perspective.

Each with their own inspirational stories to tell, Mark and Sbonelo continue to offer effective, hands-on leadership and guidance to the PetroCONNECT team and our partners.

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The Journey of Mark Harper and Sbonelo Mbatha

A partnership set to lead, inspire and change perceptions.

Why did you start PetroCONNECT?

As fuel retailers with over 25 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 elected into leadership positions and committees representing the interests of 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 dealers who wish to enter the industry. Our goal is to make the right connections between these two market segments.

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 innovation and development at the core of our values, one of PetroCONNECT's main differentiators is our willingness and passion to empower people with the practical skills they need to enter the industry successfully by means of facilitating workshops, theoretical training, on-site practical work exposure programmes and Readiness Programs through PetroCONNECT Academy.

We also believe that our approach and holistic solutions are meaningfully different to existing site owners or dealers - focusing 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 strengths, differences and perspectives is one of our key strengths. 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 innovation. We hope to inspire others in the energy sector to embrace change as we have at PetroCONNECT.