Call for big business to lend a hand to SMEs

24 April 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914406

Government & Municipal
SMME Development & Support

THE eThekwini Municipality has called on big business to step up and assist emerging businesses. This was one of the vital points of discussion at the Enterprise and Supplier Development Business Breakfast held at the Elangeni Hotel recently.

The breakfast session was also a lead-up to the fourth annual Smart Procurement World Conference which will take place from 3 to 5 June. The conference is expected to attract hundreds of delegates, industry speakers and approximately 100 small business representatives.

The theme of the event will be “Governance that transforms,” with the focus on Supply Chain Management as an enabler to inclusive and sustainable growth.

Addressing the Durban breakfast, Chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee, Councillor Thabani Luthuli said, “Business survival statistics in South Africa show that, without assistance as many as 70% of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa fail in their first two years of existence.

“To ensure sustainability, these businesses need the support and guidance of a knowledgeable, established and well-connected ESD Model that is sector specific with collaboration between private sector and local government.”

Head of the City’s Supply Chain Management Unit, Andre Petersen explained the ESD programme. “We are committed to the continued development and growth of the regions SMME suppliers. The growth of our suppliers means the growth of our economy. We need to start unlocking opportunities for them that will propel them and help them compete with bigger suppliers.”

Deputy Head of SCM Operations, Sandile Ngcobo added: “The intention for this development programme is to support, develop, train and incubate suppliers for the City and region to engage with in future. These will serve to build capacity of local suppliers and assist with increasing the database of local content compliant small businesses in eThekwini Municipality.”

Chief Operating Officer of Smart Procurement World, Debbie Tagg said that they were pleased with the City’s efforts to develop and grow small businesses and that big business must come to the party. “It is a collective effort. We can only do great things if we hold each other’s hands. The aim of this initiative is to capacitate, expose and equip SMME’s with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed.”

City representatives urged business leaders to pledge their support towards the cause. The goal is to raise between R2 million and R5 million so that 100 SMME’s can be equipped through the programme.

Russell Curtis from Invest Durban said many companies may not know how to go about contributing to Enterprise and Supplier Development. “Many are often too busy or don’t have the capacity. However, the responsibility is ours to ensure that emerging businesses are assisted so they can also contribute economically.”

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