LESCO Manufacturing exemplifies the economic and social potential of the local manufacturing industry

Increasingly, localisation has become considered more seriously as a potential driver of economic growth and resilience, in the face of challenges like Covid-19. While globalisation has led countries the world over to defer to places like China for its manufacturing capability, businesses like LESCO Manufacturing are proving that there is vast untapped potential in the South African manufacturing industry. Not only to benefit South Africa economically, but socially as well in the form of increased employment opportunities for a struggling jobless workforce.


With over a decade of experience in the manufacturing industry, LESCO Manufacturing’s CEO Jonathan Shapiro is ideally placed to share his insights on these and other related topics:

  1. The social impact and empowerment legacy of the 3rd-generation LESCO Manufacturing business, currently being driven by passionate social entrepreneur CEO Jonathan Shapiro
  2. The potential of the manufacturing industry in being a driver of South Africa’s local economic growth whilst simultaneously addressing the employment crisis
  3. Practical ways in which to drive inclusivity across the manufacturing industry, particularly for people once considered ‘unemployable’, such as people living with disabilities
  4. The positive social and economic impact of localisation
  5. LESCO’s vision for the future to grow as a South African electrical products producer of choice, whilst doing business in an inspirational, sustainable, and socially impactful way




LESCO Manufacturing is a proudly South African electrical products producer that is deeply invested in driving meaningful and sustainable social impact. Its legacy of empowerment is engrained across its value chain and the business prides itself on consistently creating opportunities for marginalised demographics. Around half of their employees are people living with some form of disability. The business remains focused on delivering cost-competitive products of the highest quality and safety standards. It is also a trusted partner and preferred supplier to some of South Africa’s best-loved and leading retailers.


Run by Jonathan Shapiro, LESCO is a third-generation business – founded in 1999 – with its heritage stemming from Switch King (founded by Natie Shapiro, Jonathan’s grandfather, in 1958). Under Jonathan’s leadership, LESCO has grown from strength to strength, competing with well subsidised factories in China, a massive feat for a local manufacturer. Making his distinctive mark as a young business leader in other spheres, Jonathan is a proud board member and CEO of the South Africa Israel Chamber of Commerce and has spoken at several events.


Among its many achievements, in 2016, LESCO was a runner up in the FNB Business Innovation Awards. The business was also nominated for the ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards for unlisted companies and its CEO, for the Creative Counsel Young Jewish Entrepreneur Awards.


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