by Fundiswa Nkwanyana

The Insider Track Series hosted it’s first exclusive and interactive workshop for supply chain professionals in a bid to share information and to network with peers.  Robust conversations and case studies were shared to find solutions to challenges faced by SME’s and corporates in enterprise and supplier development.


Compliance leads to market access opportunities

Business compliance is often viewed as a mundane and unnecessary task and because of this many small businesses are not registered. “I didn’t think it was necessary to be compliant and I was scared to approach SARS because my business was not registered,” said Ashraa Adams, a trader at the V&A Waterfront. She had been operating her flower shop called Mama’s Flowers at the Waterfront precinct since 1992 and when lockdown restrictions were implemented, she was unable to access relief funds because her business was not registered.

Through the V&A Waterfront’s COVID19 SME support initiative, Adams was able to register her business, and this opened market access opportunities.  Today, her business supplies eight SPAR retailers with flowers and more recently at the 3 Arts Shopping Centre. “Being compliant opened many doors for me, I would not have been able to access new markets had I not been registered,” said Adams.

Be resilient

COVID19 is not the only challenge that is affecting small businesses owners, there are still going to be many other trials and tribulations that will test entrepreneur’s resilience. “Business owners must have a growth strategy in place that looks at managing risks and future challenges,” said Tshiamo Makoloane the Absa Head of Group Procurement Risk and Governance. She added that resilience includes being cautious about fast growth because diversifying or growing too quickly can be risky for the business.

Attend webinars and workshops

Attending webinars, talks and workshops is the perfect way to network and get practical advice from industry leaders. Interactive and informative platforms like the Insider Track Series give suppliers access to business models, strategies, tools, and tips to grow their business. Engaging supplier development workshops gives entrepreneurs a rare chance to interact directly with supply chain decision makers. These platforms provide helpful guidance on what to avoid and how to tackle challenges.

Take opportunities that match your expertise

A case study presented by Cliff Rostowsky the Managing Director at Bidvest Afcom showcased the importance of working with an entrepreneur that has the qualifications, expertise, and experience. The supplier development growth model that Rostowsky and his team developed focused on upscaling one small business. Bidvest Afcom’s strategy included working with an untransformed supplier to transfer manufacturing expertise to an emerging and highly skilled supplier. This growth strategy model facilitated access to finance from Absa for the emerging supplier.

Mthobisi Nhleko, the co-founder of Pavati Plastics SA was perfect for this model because he has the qualifications, experience, and passion to grow the business which is now worth millions. This supplier development accelerator model worked because Nhleko’s skills matched perfectly with the opportunity.

Collaboration is key to growth

The success of the V&A Waterfront’s COVID19 SMME support initiative and Bidvest Afcom supplier development growth model lies in their ability to collaborate with their networks to access resources and funding.  SME’s can also form collaborations to accelerate their growth, access expertise and funding. Working together and sharing information is an effective way to fast-track growth.


Share supplier development models and strategies

An effective way for procurement and supply chain sectors to accelerate development is to share ideas because this minimizes mistakes and propels growth. Many industry leaders are sitting with highly impactful strategies that if shared with peers can break barriers and lead to market access opportunities. Successful supplier development strategies shared by the V&A Waterfront and Bidvest Afcom can be implemented across sectors for a bigger impact.

COVID SME support initiatives

Corporates have a social responsibility towards the sector they operate in and it’s advisable for them to have systems in place to support and develop SME’s within their network. The pandemic is ongoing, and business cannot continue as normal. The V&A Waterfront’s COVID SME Support initiative assisted 49 businesses with working capital, over R20 million was granted to 270 tenants in rental relief and their SME helpdesk assisted 116 businesses. When corporates help suppliers during tough times, not only does this ensure the corporate sector has a pool of suppliers to continue working with, but it also leads to economic growth and job creation.

Ensure ethical business practices are in place

For an inclusive supply chain, corporates need to conduct an in-depth analysis to check if their policies are aligned with ethical and transformative business practices. There is a lot of red tape that hinders SME’s from market access opportunities. Bidvest Afcom’s innovative supplier development strategy created a seamless plan that cut red tape and strategically assisted one of their suppliers to upscale. This strategy was a success because they amended their policies without compromising compliance, quality or price to upscale an authentic B-BBEE supplier.

Be part of a network

A diverse network is imperative for supplier development because it’s where information, case studies and growth strategies are shared. The Supplier Development Award’s Insider Track Series and Digital Dialogues are one of the few solution orientated platforms where corporats and SME’s can exchange share information and learn from one another.

Corporates must upscale credible and capable SME’s

In a bid to be a part of transformation, many procurement and supply chain leaders compromise policies to include small businesses. It’s important for enterprise and supplier development programmes to operate on normal commercial terms because this will make the entrepreneur resilient. Bidvest Afcom’s innovative supplier development strategy was a success because they worked with a credible, experienced, and qualified entrepreneur that had the passion, skills and resilience to upscale the small business.

Executives in procurement, supply chain and supplier development professions as well as SME’s need to collaborate and share ideas to create a transformed and inclusive supply chain. Supply chains are a contributor towards South Africa’s GDP and need to work together to grow the economy and create jobs with a positive ripple effect.

Watch the full workshop below:


To watch the V&A case study – click here

To watch the Bidvest Afcom case study – click here