Theresa Cupido, leading businesswomen in construction down the road of success


The number of women entrepreneurs in business is staggeringly growing, and they are heading for business in male-dominated industries. Today in South Africa, women own over 70% of micro-enterprises and over 40% small enterprises. Theresa Cupido is a good example, being an entrepreneur operating within the road construction industry with a business she started just over ten years ago.

Theresa is known for not only diversifying the construction sector, but making room for others as well. The Western Cape businesswoman is the owner and CEO of a roadmarking and civil engineering company called ATN Group, based in Stikland, Cape Town.

The ATN Group capabilities are diverse and include: civil engineering, traffic accommodation, road studs, routine road maintenance, pipe laying, concrete structures, sandblasting, and erosion protection works.

Cupido has won several awards as an entrepreneur, businesswoman and on behalf of her company. She has managed to create between 250 and 300 full-time jobs for both skilled and semi-skilled industry professionals, with a remarkable 100% employment rate increase.

ATN Group (Pty) Ltd has over 100 years combined expertise and respective skills in the Civil engineering field. Our teams consist of well skilled trained employees, Occupational health & safety and environmental officers. ATN Group (Pty) Ltd enjoys product and service representation in Southern Africa and has been the first port of call for delivery of key civil engineering works to many of its clients.

Owning a business and empowering others is a lifelong passion for Cupido who grew up in a family of business minded individuals. Cupido says the focus is also on creating quality jobs and empowering her staff. “Both staff and management work to empower students with relevant industry experience.” Theresa stated that the company’s tight systems that transfer expertise across all levels were achieved through a combination of interventions. Developing skills through their strict “each-one-teach-one” policy.

ATN Group also gives back to the community in fruitful ways. “Both staff and management work to empower students with relevant industry experience through the ATN Student Learnership Programme, a contribution of 2% of our annual turnover,” she says.

Working in such a male-dominated industry – construction – Cupido has faced several challenges but has managed to achieve success nonetheless, saying that, “Women are natural entrepreneurs.”

“Women are not fully supported and are often excluded in business, but this can be rectified by both national and provincial government and business institutes,” Cupido says.

Theresa is a beneficiary of an enterprise development programme for emerging contractors from Martin and East, one of the oldest civil engineering and construction firm in the country.

Cupido says she is hopes to set an example for other small businesswomen on how to create jobs and empower others.