Hosting Smart Procurement World KwaZulu-Natal gave the city of eThekwini’s SMMEs the chance to network with big business procurement from the corporate and public sectors.
“Involving Procurement in assisting SMMEs to grow and creating new businesses generates jobs for citizens,” eThekwini Municipality Cllr Fawzia Peer, Chair: Finance & Procurement, told SmartProcurement.
“[Linking Procurement with small businesses] helps the municipality, in terms of poverty alleviation, and the State, in terms of less welfare support. Ultimately, it improves the quality of life of our people,” said Cllr Peer.
One of the municipality’s roles is to encourage big businesses to assist fledgling SMMEs, noted Peer.
“Business supply chains and Government must to work together to support and celebrate entrepreneurial success and inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. We need to promote an environment that removes the stigma of failure and showcases entrepreneurial talent.”
It was also an opportunity for the eThekwini to showcase its leading black-owned and women-owned suppliers.
Addressing difficulties faced by SMMEs to get their businesses going such as finance, land and understanding the market, Cllr Peer said the city has rolled out programmes to assist new, established or struggling businesses operating in the city:
Strategic Partnership Programme develops strategic partnerships between the city and external organisations.
Access to Finance Programme develops and empowers SMMEs financially in order to access finance from financial institutions and avoid failure. Further, it is to provide innovative financial and non-financial assistance to SMMEs in line with the Financial Charter of 2002. Relationships must be formed with a range of financial institutions.
Arts & Crafts Programme provides technical skills used to generate income in selected areas. Sector-specific arts and crafts empowerment workshops must be held to equip SMMEs with the necessary information and knowledge. Artists must be assisted to participate in various exhibitions and fairs, including international fairs with sister cities.
Sister City Programme promotes knowledge sharing, skills development and trading relationships. Various platforms are used to host and visit these ‘sister cities’. Sharing of information and expertise is facilitated during such interactions including participation at business fairs.
Commonwealth Local Government Forum Best Practice Scheme promotes collaboration and the sharing of best practices.
Business Plan Programme is modelled on the “Dragon’s Den” television programme. In essence it is a business plan competition resulting in recognition and awards for winners.
Entrepreneurial Support Centre serves as an incubator providing operating premises and support services, such as training, coaching and mentoring.
Business Linkage Programme links big businesses with small businesses and makes small businesses aware of the requirements and standards of big businesses through match making.
Women Empowerment Programme aims at improving the profile of women entrepreneurs through events such as conferences.
Construction. The Small Enterprise Development Agency construction Incubator is used to assist SMMEs in the construction Sector.
Business Fairs is an annual business fair for information sharing, marketing new ideas and innovations and networking.